Modify the options for Xbar Chart (Options tab)

On the Options tab of the Xbar Chart dialog box, specify the mean or standard deviation, specify subgroups to exclude, and make control limits straight.


The mean and standard deviation are used to calculate the center line and control limits. You can have Minitab estimate these parameters from the data or you can enter historical values. If you enter only one historical value, Minitab estimates the other parameter from the data.

Estimate the mean and standard deviation from the data
Estimate the parameters from your data.
Specify the value for one or both parameters
  • Mean: Enter a single mean for the chart. Minitab uses the mean to calculate the center line.
  • Standard deviation: Enter a single standard deviation for the chart. The standard deviation is used to calculate the control limits.

Omit subgroups from the estimation of parameters

If some subgroups have erratic data because of special causes that you have already corrected, you can omit these subgroups from the calculations to avoid incorrect parameter estimates.

In Omit the following subgroups when estimating parameters (optional), enter the subgroups. Use a colon to indicate a range of subgroups. Leave a space between each subgroup or range of subgroups. For example, to specify subgroups 4, 7, 11, 12, 13, and 14, enter 4 7 11:14.

Force control limits to be straight

By default, Minitab calculates the control limits using the actual subgroup sizes. When the subgroup sizes differ, the control limits are uneven, but you can force the control limits to be straight. Select Using the following size for all subgroups, and enter a subgroup size.

This option is especially useful when all subgroups were intended to be the same size, but some subgroups are a different size. For example, some subgroups are smaller because of missed measurements. In that case, set the subgroup size to the intended size.


When you specify a subgroup size, you change the calculations for the control limits, which can change the results of the tests for special causes. Use this option only if the differences between the subgroup sizes are small. Don't use this option when the difference between subgroup sizes is more than 25%. For example, if the largest subgroup has 10 observations and the smallest subgroup has 8 observations, then the difference is 20% ((10 – 8) / 10 = 0.2 = 20%).

For example, the data for the following charts is the same, but the control limits for the second chart were calculated based on a fixed subgroup size.
Actual subgroup sizes
Fixed subgroup size
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