The tutorial explains how to build charts in Google Sheets and which types of charts to use in which situation. You will also learn how to build 3D charts and Gantt charts, and how to edit, copy or delete charts.
Analyzing data, very often we evaluate certain numbers. When we prepare presentations of our findings, we should remember that visual images are much better and easier perceived by an audience than simply numbers.
Whether you study business indicators, make a presentation or write a report, charts and graphs will help your audience to better understand complex dependencies and regularities. That is why any spreadsheet, including Google Sheets, offers various charts as means of visual representation.
Let's get back to analyzing our data on sales of chocolate in various regions to different customers. To visualize the analysis, we'll use charts.
The original table looks like this:
Let's calculate the sales results of particular products by months.
And now let's present numerical data more clearly and concisely with the help of a graph.
Our task is to analyze the dynamics of sales using column charts and line charts. A bit later we will also discuss research of sales structure with circular diagrams.
Select a range of cells for building your chart. The range should include headers of lines and columns. The headers of lines will be used as indicator names, the headers of columns - as names of indicator values. Besides the amounts of sales, we should also choose ranges with the types of chocolate and with the months of sales. In our example, we select the range A1:D5.
Then choose in the menu: Insert - Chart.
The Google Sheets graph is built, the chart editor is displayed. Your spreadsheet will offer you a chart type for your data at once.
Usually, if you analyze indicators which vary over time, Google Sheets will most probably offer you a column chart or a line chart. In cases, when data is a part of one thing, a pie chart is used.
Here you can change the type of the scheme according to your wish.
Besides, you can change the chart itself.
Specify, which values you would like to use along the horizontal axis.
There is an option to switch rows and columns in a chart by ticking an appropriate checkbox. What is it needed for? For example, if in rows we have names of our goods and sales volumes, the chart will show us sales volume on each date.
This kind of chart will answer the following questions:
In these questions, a date is the key piece of information. If we change the places of rows and columns, the main question will turn into:
In this case, the main thing for us is the item, not the date.
We can also change data, used for building the chart. For example, we want to see the dynamics of sales by months. For this let's change the type of our chart to a line chart, then swap rows and columns. Suppose we are not interested in Extra Dark Chocolate sales, so we can remove these values from our chart.
You can see two versions of our chart in the picture below: the old one and the new one.
One can notice, that rows and columns have changed places in these charts.
Sometimes, in the range you've chosen for building a graph, there are filtered or hidden values. If you want to use them in the chart, tick the corresponding checkbox in Data Range section of the chart editor. If you are going to use only visible on the screen values, leave this checkbox empty.
After defining the type and contents of a chart, we can change the way it looks.
So, you built a graph, made necessary corrections and for a certain period it satisfied you. But now you want to transform your chart: adjust the title, redefine type, change color, font, location of data labels, etc. Google Sheets offers handy tools for this.
It is very easy to edit any element of the chart.
Left-click the diagram and on the right, you will see a familiar chart editor window.
Choose Customize tab in the editor and several sections for changing graph will appear.
In the Chart Style section, you can change the background of the diagram, maximize it, transform straight lines into smooth, make a 3D chart. Also, you can increase or decrease font size and change its color.
Pay attention, that for each chart type different style changes are offered. For example, you cannot make a 3D line chart or smooth lines in a column chart.
Moreover, you can change the style of labels of the axes and the whole chart, select the desired font, size, color, and font format.
You can add data labels to your Google Sheets graph.
To make it easier to see how indicators change, you can add a trendline.
Choose the location of a chart legend, it can be below, above, on the left, on the right side or outside the chart. As usual, one can change the font.
You can also adjust the design of axes and gridlines of a chart.
The editing opportunities are easy to understand intuitively, so you will not encounter any difficulties. All changes you make are immediately displayed on your graph, and if something is done wrong, you can cancel an action right away.
Here is an example of how a standard line chart can be changed: compare two versions of the same chart above and below.
As we see, Google Sheets offers plenty of opportunities to edit charts. Don't hesitate to try all possible options to accomplish your goal.
Now we will see, how with the help of Google Sheets charts one can analyze the structure or composition of a certain type of data. Let's get back to our example of sales of chocolate.
Let's look at the structure of sales, i.e. the ratio of different chocolate types in total sales. Let's take January for analysis.
As we've already done, let's choose our data range. Besides the sales data, we'll select the chocolate types and the month, in which we are going to analyze the sales. In our case, it will be A1:B5.
Then choose in the menu: Insert - Chart.
The graph is built. If Google Sheets didn't guess your requirement and offered you a column diagram (which happens quite often), correct the situation by choosing a new type of chart - pie chart (Chart editor - Data - Chart type).
You can edit the layout and style of a pie chart the same way, as you've done it for a column chart and a line chart.
Again, on the screenshot, we see two versions of the chart: the initial and the changed one.
We have added data labels, changed the title, colors, etc. You are free to edit your pie chart as long as needed to achieve the necessary result.
To present your data in a more appealing way, you can make your chart three-dimensional using the chart editor.
Tick the checkbox as shown in the picture above and get your 3D chart. All the other settings and changes can be applied as it was done before with standard 2D diagrams.
So, let's check out the result. As usual, below are the old version of the chart compared to the new one.
It's hard to deny that now the representation of our data really looks more stylish.
Gantt chart is a simple instrument to create task sequences and track deadlines in project management. In this type of chart, titles, start and end dates, and duration of tasks are transformed into waterfall bar charts.
The Gantt charts clearly show the time schedule and current state of a project. This type of chart will be very useful if you are working with your colleagues on a certain project, which is divided into stages.
Of course, Google Sheets can't replace professional project management software, but the accessibility and simplicity of the proposed solution are certainly worthy of attention.
So, we have a product launch plan, which can be presented as a dataset below.
Let's add two columns to our table: the start day of task and task duration.
We put day 1 for the start of the first task. To count the start day for the second task, we shall deduct the start date of the whole project (July 1, cell B2) from the start date of the second task (July 11, cell B3).
The formula in D3 will be:
Pay attention that reference for B2 cell is absolute, which means that if we copy the formula from D3 and paste it to the range D4:D13, the reference won't change. For instance, in D4 we will see:
Now let's count the duration of each task. For this we shall deduct the start date from the end date.
Thus, in E2 we'll have:
Now we are ready to build our chart.
As you probably remember, in Google Sheets we can use several data ranges to build a chart.
In our case, we are going to use names of tasks, start days and durations. This means that we will take data from columns A, D, E.
With the help of Ctrl key select the necessary ranges.
Then as usual go to menu: Insert - Chart.
Choose the Chart type Stacked Bar Chart.
Now our task is to make the values in Start on day column not be displayed in the chart, but still be present in it.
For this we should make the values invisible. Let's go to Customize tab, then Series - Apply to: Start on day - Color - None.
Now the values in Start on day column are invisible, but still, they affect the chart.
We can continue editing our Google Sheets Gantt chart, change the title, location of legend, etc. You are free to make here any experiments.
Have a look at our final chart.
Here one can find the end date of each project stage and sequence of their implementation. Unfortunately, you can't change the location of data labels.
Here are some important tips on working with Google Sheets Gantt chart:
Click on chart and it will be highlighted at once. In the upper right corner three vertical points will appear. This is the editor icon. Click on it, and you will see a small menu. The menu allows you to open the chart editor, copy a chart or delete it, save it as an image in PNG format (Save image), move a chart to a separate sheet (Move to own sheet). Here one can also add a description of a chart. For instance, if for some reason your chart is not shown, the text of this description will be presented instead.
There are two ways to copy a chart.
By the way, in the same manner you can paste your chart to any other Google Docs documents.
After pushing Ctrl + V keys you can choose either to insert a chart in its current state without possibility to change it (Paste unlinked), or you can save its connection to initial data (Link to spreadsheet). In the second case if you edit the initial chart, its copy on Google Docs will be adjusted.
To change the location of a chart, click on it, hold down the left mouse button and move cursor. You will see a small image of a hand, and a chart will move with it.
To remove a chart, simply highlight it and press Del key. Also, you can use Menu for that, choosing Delete chart.
If you have deleted your chart by mistake, just push Ctrl + Z to undo this action.
So now if you ever need to present your data graphically, you know how to do that building a chart in Google Sheets.
Google Sheets chart tutorial (make a copy of this spreadsheet)
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