Statistics How To

How to Make an SPSS Histogram

SPSS Statistics > How to Make an SPSS Histogram

IBM SPSS Statistics is a software package for statistics, geared towards the social sciences. A histogram is a useful tool for graphically displaying a set of data. It looks similar to a frequency distribution table but with a histogram, data is separated into bins (widths) instead of frequencies (where individual entries are counted). SPSS contains many different options to create histograms, which can be a source of confusion at first. Watch the video below to see how to use the chart builder, or read below to find out how to make an SPSS Histogram with the legacy chart builder. The BIN width will also be automatically calculated. If you don’t like the result, it’s possible to change any of these features after you have created the graph.

How to Make an SPSS Histogram: Steps

Step 1: Click “Graphs,” then mouse over “Legacy Dialogs” and then click “Histogram…”.
how to make an spss histogram

Step 2: Pick one variable from the left dialog box and then click the center arrow to move your selection to the “Variable” box.
spss histogram 2

Step 3: Click “OK.” SPSS may take a moment to run the graph utility. You may see a blank screen with the words “Running Graph” at the bottom right while SPSS performs the necessary calculations.
spss histogram 3

Tip: To edit scales, height, width and other features of the SPSS histogram, double-click on the graph in the Output Viewer (that’s the window that pops up with the graph), and then double-click on the graph element you want to change.

Tip: If you expect your data to have a normal distribution, check the “Display Normal Curve” check box.

Warning: Histograms using this method work with one set of variables, so don’t try to select more than one variable at a time. If you need more than one histogram for a set of different variables, repeat the steps above. SPSS will open a new window with each histogram.


If you prefer an online interactive environment to learn R and statistics, this free R Tutorial by Datacamp is a great way to get started. If you're are somewhat comfortable with R and are interested in going deeper into Statistics, try this Statistics with R track.

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How to Make an SPSS Histogram was last modified: October 12th, 2017 by Stephanie Glen

4 thoughts on “How to Make an SPSS Histogram

  1. Noma

    Kindly assist. I have test scores (averages) for a period of 5 years. I would like to create a histogram to establish shifts. What do I put when SPSS prompts me for a virable, rows, columns. ?

    Kindly assist