Chart types

You can display your data in a number of different ways using charts in a spreadsheet.

Choose a chart type below to learn more about the chart and how to use it.

Scatter plot

A scatter chart displays numeric coordinates along the X- and Y-axis. The data in your spreadsheet is displayed as a series of points on a graph. Your data should be formatted in two or more columns, all of which contain numeric data. The first column of data should contain X-values on your chart, while each remaining column should contain Y-values. Each column of Y-values will show as a series of points on the chart.

scatter plot

Learn how to customize your chart.

Bar charts

Bar charts are a good way to visualize one or more categories of data, particularly if each category has sub-categories. These charts allow you to visually express the difference between the data points of each category. In the chart below, for example, we can track Olympic medals earned by country, with the sub-categories of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

Data Format

Each row in your spreadsheet represents a different bar in the chart. In the first column of your spreadsheet, write the labels or classifications for each row. For example, this could be countries or other classifications of data. Each remaining column needs to contain numeric data. The data format for a area chart is the same as the data format for bar and line charts.

You may also want to name each of the columns containing data in your spreadsheet. If you do so, we’ll automatically detect these names and use them as labels for your data on the chart. You can also set or change this setting by selecting the checkbox that reads 'Use Row A as headers.'

Last, you can chart uncertainty about your data using boolean values.

bar chart

Stacked bar chart

Data for a stacked bar chart is structured similarly to a bar chart, but data for each label or classification is aggregated into one bar, instead of multiple bars. This bar contains all data for any given label or classification, and allows you to see the relationship of parts to the whole.

stacked bar chart

Learn how to customize your chart.

Pie charts

A pie chart (also known as a pie graph) allows you to visualize data as “slices of pie,” or proportions of a whole.

Data Format

Your data should be contained in two columns of your spreadsheet; the first column contains a label, and the second column contains a numeric value representing that label. In the Chart types tab of the Charts Editor dialog, you can switch between the 2D and 3D versions of the pie chart, or turn a pie chart into a donut chart.

2D Pie Chart

2D pie chart or pie graph

3D Pie chart

3D pie chart or pie graph

Donut chart

donut pie chart

Customization options

In addition to the regular customization options available for Google Charts, the pie chart allows you to select the labels you’d like to see for each pie slice. To do this, click on the Customize tab, scroll down to Slice, and select an option:

  • Percentage shows each slice as a calculated percentage of the total
  • Value displays the number associated with each slice (from the right-hand column in your data table)
  • Label shows the name of each slice (from the left-hand column in your data table)
  • None allows you to leave the slices blank and rely solely on the color-coded legend

As you select each of these options, you can also change the font size and text color associated with the option to the right of the Slice drop-down menu.

You can also add legend labels to each pie slice instead of keeping your legend to the right or above the pie itself. To do this:

  1. Open the chart editing dialog.
  2. Click the Customize tab.
  3. Go to the Legend option and select Labeled.

donut chart

Organizational chart

An organizational chart (also called an org chart) shows the structure of a company, group of people, or family tree by displaying the relationships between group members.

Data format

List all group members in one column of your spreadsheet, and their hierarchical or higher-level relationship in the next column. If you want a tooltip to appear when you point your mouse to each node, you can enter this text in a third column. When you insert the chart into your spreadsheet, you’ll see something similar to the chart below.

Learn how to customize your chart.

Table chart

A table chart turns your standard spreadsheet table into chart that can easily be sorted and paged.

When viewing the table, you can select single rows with either the keyboard or the mouse, and you can sort individual columns by clicking on column headers. If your table is particularly large, the header row remains fixed as you scroll.

Data format

Unlike most charts, the data format for a table chart is flexible and customizable, with the one restriction that the data within each column must be consistent. A column should contain data formatted in the same way -- if you mix-and-match data formats within a column, the table won’t render properly.

table

Learn how to customize your chart.

Map chart

A Map chart is a map of a country, continent, or region map, with colors designating values associated with each of the map's locations.

Data format

In the first column, enter location names or region codes. In the second column, enter numeric values. These values will modify the color density of each location.

Learn how to customize your chart.

Creating a Map chart

Let's say you're displaying countries in terms of population, and you want to show this information on a map. List the locations in the first column, and enter the number of people who live there in the next column.

To create a map from your data set, select Insert > Chart. In the charts dialog, click the Chart types tab, then click the "Tree map" option under "Other." Select one of the GeoMap options. Navigate to the Customize tab, where you can modify the color that appears on your map. For example:

  • Min (0): Select White as the corresponding color
  • Mid (50): Select a Medium Green color
  • Max (100): Select a Deep Moss color

You can create a Map chart with the values associated with each country designated through colors only:

Or, you can use a circular marker for each country, designating the relative size of the value associated with the country through color and the marker's size:

Click Insert, and your chart will be inserted into your spreadsheet.

Line chart

A line chart is a good way to display numeric data graphically, and is particularly useful when expressing changes in value between categories of data.

Data Format

In the first column, enter a label to describe the data represented in the line chart. The remaining columns will each represent a line on the chart and must contain numeric data. You can have one or more of these columns to show on the chart. The data format for a line chart is the same as the data format for bar, area, and column charts.

You may also want to name each of the columns containing your data. If you do so, we’ll automatically detect these names and use them as labels for your data on the chart. You can also set or change this setting by selecting the checkbox that reads 'Use Row A as headers.'

You can also chart uncertainty about your data using boolean values.

line chart

Column charts

Column charts are a good way to visualize one or more categories of data, particularly if each category has sub-categories. These charts allow you to visually express the difference between the data points of each category. In the chart below, for example, we can track Olympic medals earned by country, with the sub-categories of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

Data Format

Each row in your spreadsheet represents a different column in the chart. In the first column of your spreadsheet, write the labels or classifications for each row. For example, this could be countries or other classifications of data. Each remaining column needs to contain numeric data. The data format for a column chart is the same as the data format for bar, line, and area charts.

You may also want to name each of the columns containing your data. If you do so, we’ll automatically detect these names and use them as labels for your data on the chart. You can also set or change this setting by selecting the checkbox that reads ‘Use Row A as headers.’

Last, you can chart uncertainty about your data using boolean values.

column chart

Stacked column chart

Data for a stacked column chart is structured in the same way as a standard column chart. In stacked column charts, however, each category has only one column. This column contains all data for any given label or classification, and allows you to see the relationship of parts to the whole.

stacked column chart

Histogram

A histogram displays the distribution of a data set. In your spreadsheet's first column, put labels for your groups of data. Then, in subsequent columns, place numeric values, each representing items in a distribution. Only one column of data is required to generate the histogram.

For each column, the values from all rows are grouped into numeric buckets. The histogram displays the number of values in each bucket, using the height of each bar to represent the count of values.

Learn how to customize your chart.

Area charts

Much like a line chart, an area chart tracks one or more data series graphically, and is particularly useful when expressing changes in value between categories of data.

Data Format

In the first column, enter a label to describe the data you’re displaying in the area chart. For example, you could enter dates or times. The remaining columns will each represent an area on the chart and must contain numeric data. You can have one or more of these columns to display on the area chart. All data values must be positive in an area chart. The data format for a area chart is the same as the data format for bar, line, and column charts.

You may also want to name each of the columns containing your data. If you do so, we’ll automatically detect these names and use them as labels for your data on the chart. You can also set or change this setting by selecting the checkbox that reads ‘Use Row A as headers.’

Last, you can chart uncertainty about your data using boolean values.

area chart

Stacked area chart

A stacked area chart is used in similar instances as an area chart or a line chart, but shows the relationship of the part to the whole. The data format for a stacked area chart is the same as an area chart, although you’ll need two or more columns containing numeric data. The following example shows Gold, Silver and Bronze Olympic medals as a portion of the total medals earned by each country.

area chart

stacked area chart

Annotated timeline

An annotated timeline is an interactive time series line chart with the option to add annotations. You can display one or more lines on the chart.

Data format

The first column in your spreadsheet should contain the date (optionally including the time of day). The following columns should contain numeric values, titles, and annotations. Each numeric column can be followed by one or two optional columns containing text. The values in the numeric column are represented in the Y-axis for the corresponding time in the first column. The text in the first column following a numeric column serves as the titles of your annotations, and the second column with text is the annotation content.

annotated timeline data

annotated timeline

Learn how to customize your chart.

Sparklines

A sparkline is good for displaying and comparing one or more categories of data, and is often used to display data across a time period. It's similar to a line chart, but displays data lines on separate axes stacked on top of each other.

Data format

Each column of the spreadsheet should contain numeric data, and there's no limit to the number of columns that can be displayed in the sparkline. Labeling each column in the spreadsheet will allow you to track your data more easily; these labels will also appear on the chart.

sparkline

Learn how to customize your chart.

Looking for information about the SPARKLINE function in Sheets? Visit our function help.
Combo chart

A combo chart lets you display each data series as a different marker type, such as column, line, or area line.

Data Format

The top row of your data set will be the labels for the X-axis of your combo chart. The first column will be the labels for each data series (row) in your data set. The remaining cells should be filled with the data points you'd like to display on your chart. Keep in mind that the top left cell will always be ignored.

Here's an example showing the monthly coffee production by country in tons:

Creating a combo chart

To create a combo chart from your data set, select Insert > Chart. In the charts dialog, click the Chart types tab, then click Line. Select the combo chart option. In the Customize tab, choose how you’d like to display each data series. Here, you can check the box next to maximize to eliminate whitespace and bring additional focus to the data in your chart. Click Insert, and your chart will be inserted into your spreadsheet.

Bubble chart

A bubble chart visualizes data with three dimensions. It's similar to a scatter plot where the first two dimensions are the x and y coordinates, but it adds a 3rd dimension which is represented in the chart as the size of the bubble. Your data should be formatted in five columns.

  • Column 1 - Must be text and will show labels for the series
  • Column 2 - A number that determines where along the x-axis the bubble appears
  • Column 3 - A number that determines where along the y-axis the bubble appears
  • Column 4 - Should be text and determines the color of the bubble (each word gets a different color)
  • Column 5 - A number that determines the size of the bubble (the larger the number, the bigger the bubble)

Learn how to customize your chart.

Motion chart

A motion chart is a dynamic chart that shows information about several indicators over time. Based on the data in your spreadsheet, you'll be able to mix-and-match data categories and create a variety of motion graphics within a single chart.

Data format

The first column in your spreadsheet should contain the entity names that you want to track in the motion chart. The second column needs to include date values, either in year, month/day/year, week number or quarter format. All subsequent columns can contain either numeric or text data. Text data, for example, could be an indicator of the weather for a given day -- "cloudy", "raining", or "clear" -- or the name of the current CEO for corporate data.) Columns that display numeric data will be available in the X, Y, Color and Size axes of the motion chart, while columns containing text will only appear in the drop-down menu for Color.

motion chart data

motion chart

Learn how to customize your chart.

Tree map

A Tree map is a visual representation of a data tree, organizing objects in a structure of parent-child hierarchies.

Data format

  • In the first column, enter the name of an object in your hierarchy.
  • In the second column, enter the name of the object's parent. Each parent name must also appear in the first column.
  • The third column is the numerical value of the object and controls the size of the box. This value must be positive. This column might be empty for entities with children entities, since the value for a parent entity is calculated by aggregating the values of the children.
  • The optional fourth column is a numerical value that controls the color of the box. The values in the fourth column aren’t aggregated and they can be negative.

Creating a tree map chart

Let's say you're trying compare the revenue and profit in different regions of a global widget company.

To create a tree map from your data set, select Insert > Chart. In the charts dialog, click the Chart types tab, then click Map. Select the tree map option. Navigate to the Customize tab, where you can modify the color that appears on your map and select the number of levels of data that you want to display on your chart. Then, click Insert.

Learn how to customize your chart.

Gauges

Gauges allow you to display numeric values or measurements within a range. Each value produces a gauge, allowing you to compare and contrast measurements in a visual way.

Data format

List the gauge label in one column, and their respective numeric values in the second column.

gauge

Learn how to customize your chart.

Candlestick chart

Candlestick charts are used to show an opening and closing value overlaid on a total variance, and they're often used to show stock value behavior. In this chart, items where the opening value is less than the closing value (a gain) are drawn as filled boxes, and items where the opening value is more than the closing value (a loss) are drawn as hollow boxes.

Create a candlestick chart

To create a candlestick chart, enter the following values into columns. Each row describes a single candlestick marker.

  • Column 0: Enter a label for the X-axis.
  • Column 1: Enter a number specifying the low/minimum value of this marker. This is the base of the candle's center line.
  • Column 2: Enter a number specifying the opening or initial value of this marker. This is one vertical border of the candle. If this value is less than the value in Column 3, the candle will be filled; otherwise, it will be hollow.
  • Column 3: Enter a number specifying the closing/final value of this marker. This is the second vertical border of the candle. If this value is less than the column 2 value, the candle will be hollow; otherwise ,it will be filled.
  • Column 4: Enter a number specifying the high/maximum value of this marker. This is the top of the candle's center line.

To create a candlestick chart from your data set, select Insert > Chart. In the charts dialog, click the Chart types tab, then click Trend. Select the candlestick chart, and click Insert. Your chart will be inserted into your spreadsheet.

Learn how to customize your chart.

Radar chart

A radar chart is a good way to display one or more variables in a two-dimensional graph, with one spoke for each variable. A line connects all of the data points from your spreadsheet along each spoke.

Data Format

You can set up your data in one or more columns. In the optional first column, you can enter qualitative data that will replace the ‘degree’ labels along the outer circle. All of the other columns should contain numeric data that will serve as the data points along each spoke of the radar chart.

radar chart

Learn how to customize your chart.

Matt is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about the page.

Was this article helpful?