A Histogram is a bar chart showing the frequency of an outcome. In Six Sigma, we can use a histogram to visualize what is going on. A Histogram can reflect the voice of the process.

## How to Use a Histogram

Six Sigma practitioners can use the pattern reflected in the histogram to discern a process variation. This is an kind of data visualization. Here, a histogram is useful in evaluating the shape of the data.

Some of the questions we want to evaluate when interpreting a histogram are; How many peaks are there? Are there outliers? does it look approximately symmetrical and bell-shaped? If not, the process being reflected ins not a normal distribution.

### Bell-Shaped Histogram

If there is a bell shape, your data is normally distributed and hence, no variation (or influence from other factors like the 6Ms).

### Histogram with Spikes

If there are multiple spikes in the chart, there is likely variation in the process.

### Even Histogram

On the other hand, if all of the bars in the histogram are at the same level it’s not likely that we are measuring the process in the correct manner.

Doing statistical analysis usually involves the following:

- Measuring of the central tendency.
- Measure of the variation.

## Creating a Histogram:

### 1) Get Data

Ex. Delay times in mins for an airline

Use continuous data– data collection from a frequency distribution check sheet.

### Step 2: Order it and Assign Categories

- Note: The number of cells (columns) has an effect on the shape – so choose wisely!
- Could use 2^k = N where k = # of categories (smallest positive integer) and N = # of data.

### Step 3: Create a Bar Chart Preserving Counts and Categories

## How to Create a Histogram in MiniTab

## Notes on Histograms

- While a normal histogram just tells you the data, a well-constructed histogram tells you more than just the raw data
- A normal histogram should help see:
- Whether or not the data are normally distributed.
- The dispersion of the data.
- The central tendency.

- A well-constructed histogram should help you:
- Visualize the voice of the process using the raw histogram itself.
- Be easily comparable to the voice of the customer.
- You could even include the specification limits to reflect customer expectations.
- A picture is worth a thousand words.

- A normal histogram should help see:
- Different from frequency distributions:
- A Histogram is a bar graph version of a frequency diagram
- Frequency distribution represents data with x’s or check marks.
- A continuous relative frequency graph is called a histogram.

- Set up a histogram using the appropriate number of cell intervals
- # of cells can affect the shape of the curve
- Might hide distributions if too broad

- # of cells can affect the shape of the curve

- A Histogram reflects the Voice of the Process
- Should reveal if the data are normally distributed.
- Should reveal customer expectations.
- Should reveal the dispersion of the data.
- Should reveal the central tendency.
- VS other graphs
- Box Plots, Histograms, and Stem and Leaf plots all display the same data.
- There is no real advantage of using a histogram over a stem and leaf.

## Comments (4)

how to make histogram

Khalid, this article shows you exactly how to make a histogram. I don’t understand your question. Have you tried to follow these steps?

Use a data analyzer add-in with excel

Thanks, Laura. Add-ins certainly make things easier.