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Tables, graphs, and diagrams are all considered to be types of charts. Traditionally, the term ‘graph’ is used to refer to representations of grid coordinates on an XY plane, like the scatter plot or the line graph. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, so you will see the terms chart and graph used interchangeably. In the end, the most important consideration is choosing the right type of visualization so that your data is represented accurately and clearly.

In this guide, you will learn how to make a graph or chart in Google Sheets. Once you know the basic steps, you have examples of the main types of graphs available in Google Sheets. You will learn how to create line graphs, scatter plots or graphs, bar or column graphs, and stacked bar or column graphs.

How to Create a Graph in Google Sheets?

In Google Sheets, the term chart refers to graphs and other types of visualizations. Below, you have instructions on how to create a chart or graph in Google Sheets. In the next section, you have examples of the different types of graphs available in Google Sheets to help you choose the right one for your data.

1. Set Up Data

First, you need to set up your data. In the example below, the months are represented along the x-axis, and the amount of revenue is represented on the y-axis.

How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Set Up Data
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Set Up Data

2. Insert Chart

Select the data and go to Insert > Chart.

How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Insert Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Insert Chart

3. Select Graph Type

In this case, Google Sheets has automatically selected the ‘Line chart’ based on the type of data that was selected.

How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Select Chart Type
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Select Chart Type

How to Create Different Types of Graphs in Google Sheets?

Below, you have instructions on how to create the different types of graphs included in Google Sheets’ chart selection.

How to Make a Line Graph or XY Graph in Google Sheets?

Line graphs are used to represent the relationship between two variables: one dependent and one independent variable. The independent variable, which frequently illustrates the passage of time, is represented along the horizontal or x-axis. The dependent variable is measured along the vertical or y-axis. The intersections are shown as points, which are then joined by straight or curved lines.

For this example, you will learn to create a line graph showing the values for two variables over time.

  1. 1. Set up your data as shown below.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Set Up Revenue Expenses Data
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Set Up Revenue & Expenses Data
  1. 2. Select all of your data and go to Insert > Chart.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Insert Chart 2
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Insert Chart
  1. 3. That’s it. Google Sheets automatically selected the ‘Line chart’.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Line Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Line Chart

To learn more about different types of line graphs, take a look at this article: How to Make a Line Graph in Google Sheets.

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How to Make a Scatter Plot or Graph in Google Sheets?

Scatter plots usually represent two variables for a dataset. Data is presented as a collection of points, where the position along the x-axis is determined by the value of one variable, while the position along the y-axis is determined by the value of the other variable.

For this example, the x-values are the prices of a product at different times, while the y-values correspond to the number of sales made at each price.

  1. 1. Set up your data as shown below.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Set Up Price Sales Data
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Set Up Price & Sales Data
  1. 2. Select the data and go to Insert > Chart.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Insert Chart 3
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Insert Chart
  1. 3. Under ‘Chart type’, select ‘Scatter chart’.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Select Scatter Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Select Scatter Chart

How to Make a Bar Graph or Column Graph in Google Sheets?

Bar graphs are frequently used to visualize and compare categorical data. Each bar represents a category, and the length or height of the bars is proportional to the values they represent. These bars are usually plotted horizontally, and when they are plotted vertically, the result is referred to as a column chart.

For example, imagine you want to visualize and compare quarterly sales for three different products.

  1. 1. Set up the data quarterly sales data as shown below.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Set Up Quarterly Sales Data
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Set Up Quarterly Sales Data
  1. 2. Select the data and go to Insert > Chart.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Insert Chart 4
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Insert Chart
  1. 3. Under ‘Chart type’, select the column or bar chart depending on whether you want the bars to be vertical or horizontal, respectively.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Column Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Column Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Bar Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Bar Chart
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How to Make a Stacked Bar Graph or Column Graph in Google Sheets?

While the simple bar graph represents a categorical variable in the form of bars, the stacked bar graph does this for two variables. The bars are stacked on top of each other, and the height or length of the resulting stack shows the combined result. For this reason, stacked bar or column graphs are not appropriate for variables that have both positive and negative values.

For example, let's take the example used in the previous section. However, instead of visualizing each product as a separate bar, you want to stack the sales for each product per quarter. This will create one bar per quarter with the total sales for all three products.

  1. 1. Set up the data as shown below.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Set Up Stacked Column Graph Data
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Set Up Stacked Column Graph Data
  1. 2. Select the data and go to Insert > Chart.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Insert Chart 5
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Insert Chart
  1. 3. Under ‘Chart type’, select ‘Stacked column chart’, and ‘Standard’ stacking.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Standard Stacked Bar Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Standard Stacked Bar Chart
  1. 4. If you prefer, you can select 100% stacking to focus on the proportion represented by each product rather than the sales value itself.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step 100 Stacked Bar Chart
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - 100% Stacked Bar Chart
  1. 5. If you prefer the bars to be plotted horizontally, you have the same stacking options for bar charts.
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets Step by Step Bar Chart Stacking Options
How to Make a Graph in Google Sheets (Step-by-Step) - Bar Chart Stacking Options

Conclusion

Google Sheets’ chart selection includes a variety of graphs. Your choice of chart type will depend on the type of data you have and what you’re trying to show or highlight. You now know how to create a graph or chart in Google Sheets. The program will automatically guess the type of chart that is suitable for your data, but you know how to change it when you disagree with its choice. You know how to create line graphs, scatter plots or graphs, bar or column graphs, and stacked bar or column graphs.

To learn more about different types of charts in Google Sheets, check out these guides on:

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Feb 8 2023, Updated Jun 26 2023