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How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets


Google Sheets offers a robust suite of tools to convert your data into meaningful graphs. Whether you’re looking to create a simple line chart or a more intricate pie chart, Google Sheets has got you covered. The platform’s intuitive interface ensures that even those new to data visualization can craft compelling graphs with ease.

But why should you consider using graphs in your spreadsheets? Firstly, they provide a quick snapshot of the data, making it easier for both the creator and the viewer to draw insights. Secondly, they add a visual appeal to your spreadsheet, making it more engaging. And lastly, with the variety of customization options available in Google Sheets, you can tailor your graphs to convey your data story effectively.

Understanding how to harness the full potential of Google Sheets for data visualization can transform your data presentations from mundane to insightful. Whether you’re looking to provide a snapshot of quarterly sales, track project progress, or analyze trends over time, the right graph can make all the difference.

This tutorial will guide you through the nuances of creating and customizing graphs in Google Sheets.

How to Insert a Chart in Google Sheets Based on Existing Data

Diving into the world of data visualization starts with the basic step of adding a chart to your spreadsheet. This method will guide you on seamlessly integrating a visual representation of your data, making it easier to interpret and share.

  1. Select the data you want to create a chart for
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Select Data
  2. In the menu, select “Insert” and “Chart”
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Select Data - Insert - Chart
  3. Use the Google Sheets “Chart editor” to adjust your chart
    See the next method for more detailed explanations.
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Select Data - Insert - Chart - Result

How to Change the Chart Type in Google Sheets

Different datasets require different visual narratives. This section will introduce you to the various chart types available in Google Sheets, ensuring you select the most fitting representation for your data’s unique story.

Open the “Chart editor” and select the “Chart type”

Double-click the chart to open the “Chart editor”. Click the “Chart type” selector and then choose one of the available types. Google Sheets can create different line-charts, area-charts, and column-charts.
Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Chart Editor - Setup - Chart Type - Choose Column Chart

How to Customize Chart Axis and Titles in Google Sheets

A chart’s clarity often hinges on its labels and titles. In this segment, we’ll delve into the customization of axis labels and chart titles, ensuring your visuals are both informative and easy to understand.

  1. Open the Google Sheets “Chart editor” as explained above, switch to the “Customize”-tab, and expand the “Chart & axis titles” menu. There, select “Chart title”.
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Chart Editor - Costumize - Chart & Axis Title - Chart Title
  2. Enter a “Title text” for the chart
    The title will show instantly on the chart, so you can see directly if you like the result.
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Chart Editor - Costumize - Chart & Axis Title - Chart Title - Edit Title - Result
  3. Do the same for the “Horizontal axis title” and the “Vertical axis title”
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Chart Editor - Costumize - Chart & Axis Title - Horizontal Vertical Axis Title
  4. Both axis titles will also show up instantly on the chart
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Chart Editor - Costumize - Chart & Axis Title - Horizontal Vertical Axis Title - Edit Axis Title
  5. Adjust “Title font”, “Title font size”, “Title format”, and “Title text color”
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Chart Editor - Costumize - Chart & Axis Title - Horizontal Vertical Axis Title - Edit Axis Title

How to Change Chart Colors, Fonts, and Style in Google Sheets

The aesthetics of a chart play a crucial role in capturing attention and conveying information. Here, we’ll explore the myriad of design options in Google Sheets, from color schemes to font choices, allowing you to craft charts that are both visually appealing and aligned with your presentation’s theme.

The “Customize” tab in the “Chart-editor” of Google Sheets allows you to change many aspects of the chart to make it look more beautiful and informative.
Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Chart Editor - Costumize - Chart Style - Edit

Chart Style Options:

  • Background Color: Change the background color of the entire chart area.
  • Chart Border Color: Set a distinct color for the border of the chart.
  • Font: Choose a specific font for the text elements within the chart.
  • Font Size: Adjust the size of the text for better visibility and aesthetics.
  • Font Color: Modify the color of the text elements to match your desired theme.
  • Maximize: Optimize the chart’s size to take up the maximum space available, ensuring that the visual representation is as large and clear as possible.

  • Compare mode: This is a feature primarily used with time-based data on line charts. When activated, “Compare mode” allows you to compare data points from different series at the same horizontal axis value (typically time intervals like dates). Here’s what it does:

    1. Highlighting Data Points: When you hover over a data point in one series, “Compare mode” will simultaneously highlight corresponding data points from other series that fall on the same horizontal axis value.

    2. Tooltip Information: The tooltip that appears when hovering over a data point will display information for all series at that specific horizontal axis value, making it easier to compare values across different series at a glance.

    3. Visual Clarity: This mode is especially useful when you have multiple series on a line chart and want to quickly compare their values at specific time intervals.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Using Charts in Google Sheets

How do I ensure my chart updates automatically when new data is added outside the initial range?

To create a dynamic chart that updates with new data, utilize an array formula to define a dynamic range. For example, use =ARRAYFORMULA(A1:A & B1:B) to combine two columns into a dynamic range. Set this range as your chart’s data source. As you add new data to these columns, the range will automatically expand, and the chart will update to include the new data without any manual adjustment.

Can I create a chart that combines data from multiple sheets within the same Google Sheets document?

Combining data from multiple sheets into a single chart involves aggregating the data into one range. Use the QUERY function across sheets like =QUERY({Sheet1!A:B; Sheet2!A:B}, “select * where Col1 is not null”, 1) to combine two ranges from different sheets. This unified range can then be used to create a comprehensive chart that reflects data from both sheets.

How do I add a trendline to my chart in Google Sheets to show data trends?

To add a trendline, first, ensure your chart type supports it (like scatter plots or line charts). In the “Chart editor” under the “Customize” tab, select the “Series” you’re interested in, scroll down to find the Trendline section, and check the box to add a trendline. You can further customize the trendline’s color, type (linear, exponential, etc.), and opacity to match your analysis needs.

Is it possible to link a chart in Google Sheets directly to a Google Docs document?

While you can’t embed a live, interactive chart within Google Docs, you can insert a static image. For a dynamic experience, consider using Google Slides: paste your chart into a slide, then go to Google Docs and insert the slide via “Insert” > “Drawing” > “From Slides”. This way, you can update the chart in Sheets and refresh it in Slides, which can then be updated in Docs.

How do I adjust the scale of the axes to better fit my data in Google Sheets?

To manually adjust the scale of an axis, open the “Chart editor” and navigate to the “Customize” tab. Select either “Horizontal axis” or “Vertical axis“, and you’ll find options to set the minimum and maximum values, as well as the interval between axis marks. Adjusting these settings can help you focus on specific data ranges or enhance the chart’s readability.

Can I create a chart with a logarithmic scale in Google Sheets?

For charts where a logarithmic scale is appropriate, such as to display data with a wide range of values, go to the “Customize” tab in the “Chart editor“, select “Vertical axis“, and then check the Logarithmic scale option. This will change the vertical axis to a logarithmic scale, which can make trends in data more apparent, especially when dealing with exponential growth or large value ranges.

How can I make a chart more interactive, like enabling viewers to filter data directly in the chart?

Google Sheets itself doesn’t support interactive elements like filters within charts. For a more interactive experience, consider creating a dashboard in Google Data Studio, where you can connect your Sheets data. Data Studio offers interactive controls like date range filters, drop-down lists, and checkboxes that allow viewers to dynamically filter the data displayed in charts.

What’s the best way to handle missing data in a chart to avoid misleading representations?

Handling missing data effectively depends on the context of your data and the message of your chart. If missing values are expected (like no sales on a holiday), leaving cells blank might be appropriate, as Google Sheets will skip these in the chart. For cases where a zero value is meaningful (like zero sales on a regular day), entering a zero in the cell ensures accuracy in representation. Use IF or IFERROR functions to automate this based on your data’s logic.

How do I copy a chart from Google Sheets into another application while maintaining its interactivity?

While you can’t maintain interactivity when copying a chart into non-Google applications, you can share the chart as a dynamic link. Publish your chart to the web via “File” > “Publish to the web”, and embed the provided link in your application. This way, viewers can access the live, interactive chart in a separate browser tab, ensuring they see the most up-to-date data.

Can I display multiple units of measurement on a single axis in Google Sheets charts?

A single axis can represent only one unit of measurement for clarity and accuracy. To display data with different units, use a secondary axis available in combo charts. This allows you to plot two data series with different scales on the same chart, each with its own axis. Customize each axis independently to reflect the respective unit of measurement.

How do I create a stacked bar chart to show part-to-whole relationships in my data?

To create a stacked bar chart, first ensure your data is organized appropriately, with each part you want to stack in separate columns. Select your data, insert a chart, and then choose “Stacked bar chart” from the “Chart type” menu in the “Chart editor“. Each column becomes a segment of the stacked bars, visually representing the part-to-whole relationships within your data.

Is there a way to automatically highlight outliers in my Google Sheets chart?

Google Sheets doesn’t offer an automatic feature to highlight outliers in charts. However, you can manually identify outliers in your data set and add them as a separate series in your chart. Use conditional formatting in your spreadsheet to visually flag outliers, then include these flagged data points in your chart to draw attention to them.

How can I add annotations to specific data points in my chart for additional context?

Directly adding annotations to chart data points isn’t a built-in feature in Google Sheets. As a workaround, you can add text boxes manually by drawing them over the chart to provide context or explanations for specific data points. Alternatively, consider adding notes to the cells in your data range, which can then be viewed in the spreadsheet but won’t appear in the chart.

Can I use Google Sheets charts in a live website dashboard?

To integrate a Google Sheets chart into a live website, publish the chart to the web from Google Sheets via “File” > “Publish to the web”. Choose the chart and get the embed code. Insert this code into your website’s HTML where you want the chart to appear. The embedded chart will update in real-time as you update the data in your Google Sheet.

How do I create a dynamic title for my chart that updates based on data or formulas?

Google Sheets doesn’t support dynamic chart titles linked directly to cell values or formulas. However, you can use Google Apps Script to create a script that updates your chart title based on specific cell values or conditions. This requires some basic scripting knowledge to set up a function that monitors cell values and updates the chart title accordingly.

Related: How to Insert a Text Box in Google Docs or Sheets

The process to insert a text box in isn’t as intuitive. For whatever reason, Google has hidden the feature behind an entirely different menu that is rarely frequented. In our other guide, we show you how to insert a text box in Google Docs or Google Sheets, while disclosing a small trick to put a text box over an image.

Related: How to Search in Google Sheets

Whether you’re an expert in data analytics or someone simply organizing personal records, the ability to efficiently navigate and search within your Google spreadsheets is of paramount importance. In our other guide, we show you how to use the Google Sheets Find and Replace feature so you can effortlessly locate and modify data when needed.
Featured - how to search in google sheets

Related: How to Merge or Split Cells and Tables in Google Sheets

Splitting columns and cells on Google Sheets allows for detailed data breakdown, ensuring each piece of information is clearly categorized. Imagine having a column with full names and wanting to separate them into first and last names for easier sorting. Or perhaps, you’ve imported data where addresses are in a single cell, and you need to split them into street, city, and zip code columns. Google Sheets makes these tasks straightforward.
Featured - How to Merge and Split Cells and Tables in Google Sheets

Related: How to Make a Google Form / Google Survey

Google Forms is a web-based application that allows you to create and share online forms and use as a free survey maker with multiple question types. You can use Google Forms for various purposes, such as collecting feedback, conducting research, organizing events, testing knowledge, and more. Google Forms is part of the Google Workspace suite of productivity tools that integrates with other Google services like Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and Sheets. In our other guide, we show you how to create a Google Form, how to share your poll, and where you can view results.
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Last Updated on April 21, 2024 9:12 am CEST

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.

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