Math 221 – Principles of Statistics

Creating Histograms in SPSS

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A histogram is a bar graph for quantitative data, in which the heights of the bars represent frequency or relative frequency, and there are no gaps between the bars. Creating a histogram involves "binning" the data. For more information on this, see the text.

 

To create a histogram in SPSS:

 

1) Open a data file (in .sav or .por format) or type your data in.

 

2) In either the Data Editor window or the Output Viewer window, click on the “Graphs" menu and then on "Histogram..."

 

3) Select the variable of interest. Click on the little arrow next to "Variable." This will move the variable into the "Variable" box.

 

4) If you would like to add a title to your plot, click the "Titles..." button. A new dialog box appears. Enter any titles or subtitles you want to use, and click "Continue..."

 

5) Click "OK."  The histogram appears in the Output Viewer. Notice that the vertical axis is labeled "Frequency." SPSS has chosen bin widths according to some criteria the programmers wrote into the program. If you would like to change the label on the vertical axis, or change the bin width or the anchor of the first bin, use the Chart Editor.

 

NOTE: Histograms are for quantitative data only. If you have qualitative data, consider using a Pareto chart or a bar graph instead.

 

Also: You can create histograms in the "Explore" tool.

 

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David E. Brown

BYU-Idaho                                            mailto:brownd@byui.edu

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