First Steps with Charts in Google Sheets

In this previous post I discussed adding sparkline graphs to a spreadsheet. Google Sheets makes it pretty easy to add more sophisticated graphs and charts, too.

Start by highlighting the range of data you want to chart:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

It helps if you can label the data in your spreadsheet’s rows and columns before creating a chart. These labels will appear automatically in the dialog where you create and preview your chart, provided that the labels are the first row or column of your selected range of cells.

Use Insert > Chart from the top menu (or click on the Insert Chart… menu icon), and a Chart Editor dialog will open. Note how the preview chart it’s displaying has imported the names from column 1 and applied them to the x-axis; since these names were in column one they have been read as labels.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

In the Start tab of this editor box, you can select between four chart types recommended by Google Sheets based on the data you’ve chosen. If the recommended chart types don’t offer the type of chart that you want, you can explore more options in the Charts tab or by clicking on More >> next to the four recommended charts.

In the Customize tab you can add a title for the chart along with axis titles and settings, colors, and some additional formatting options.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

When you’re done, click Insert and the chart appears in your spreadsheet.

You can save your chart as an image file in .png format, and later import it into your document or presentation (e.g. as described in this previous post). Just click on the drop-down menu and select Save image:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge