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How to Create Stunning Graphs and Charts in Google Sheets

Graphs and charts are powerful tools for presenting data in a visually appealing format. They provide a quick and easy way to identify patterns and anomalies at a glance. With the wide range of graph options available in Google Sheets, you can create various types of charts, such as line, bar, column, and pie charts, in just a few minutes. Additionally, you can customize your graphs by choosing colors, adding legends, gridlines, and more. Let’s explore how to create and customize graphs in Google Sheets.

Creating a Graph in Google Sheets

To create a graph in Google Sheets, you need to begin with the data. While it is possible to add data to a graph after it’s created, it is recommended to start with at least one dataset. Google Sheets will provide recommendations for the most suitable chart based on your selected data. However, you have the freedom to choose any type of graph you prefer.

  1. Select your data: Use your cursor to drag through a range of cells or click on column and row headers to select your data.
  2. Open the Insert menu: Click on “Insert” in the top menu and choose “Chart.”

The Chart option is selected in the Google Sheets Insert menu.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

  1. View the default graph: You will immediately see a default graph on your sheet, which is the one suggested by Google Sheets. You can either keep this chart or choose a different one by accessing the Chart Editor sidebar that appears along with the chart.

Default chart inserted in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

  1. Select a different graph: To choose a different graph type, go to the “Setup” tab in the sidebar. At the top, click on the drop-down box labeled “Chart Type.” You will find additional suggested charts at the top, with all remaining types listed below. Select the graph type you prefer, and the default chart on the sheet will update accordingly.
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Chart types available in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

  1. Customize the graph: Once you have selected the desired chart type, you can further adjust the appearance of the graph by modifying the additional options on the “Setup” tab. These options include adjusting the data range, displaying or removing labels on the x- or y-axis, manipulating the series, and utilizing other customizable features.

Chart Editor Setup tab in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Customizing a Graph in Google Sheets

After inserting your chart and selecting the setup options, you can customize various elements of the graph in the Chart Editor sidebar. If you have closed the sidebar, you can reopen it by clicking the three dots on the top right of the chart and selecting “Edit Chart.”

  1. Select the Customize tab: Go to the top of the Chart Editor sidebar and click on the “Customize” tab. This tab contains different sections with expandable options. Simply expand a section to modify that specific part of the chart.

Chart Editor Customize tab in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

  1. Explore customization options: The available customization options depend on the chart type you are using. For example, if you have a bar chart, you will find options to customize the horizontal and vertical axes, while a pie chart allows you to adjust the pie slices.

  2. Additional customization options: Regardless of the chart type, you can find several common customization elements. Here are some examples:

    • Chart Style: Expand the “Chart Style” section to select a background color, font, border color, or even make the chart 3D.
    • Chart and Axis Titles: Expand this section to add a subtitle, customize the font for both the chart title and subtitle.
    • Legend: Expand the “Legend” section to choose a position for the legend and modify the font style, size, format, and color.
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Chart Style expanded in the Chart Editor.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

  1. Finish customizing: Once you have completed customizing the chart, click the “X” on the top right of the Chart Editor sidebar to close it.

Chart actions in Google Sheets.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Moving, Resizing, Editing, or Deleting a Graph

In Google Sheets, you have the flexibility to move, resize, edit, or delete your charts according to your preferences.

  • Moving a graph: Simply select the chart and drag it to the desired position in your sheet.

  • Resizing a graph: To resize the graph, click and drag from any corner or edge of the chart inwards or outwards.

  • Additional chart actions: To access more chart actions, click the three dots on the top right of the chart. This will allow you to reopen the Chart Editor sidebar for further editing or remove the chart with the “Delete Chart” option. You will also find options to download, publish, copy, or move the chart to a new sheet.

Creating stunning graphs in Google Sheets is a breeze, and with the extensive customization options available, you can give your charts the exact appearance you desire.


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