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Chart data uncertainty

Google charts allow you to visualize the level of certainty you have about your data points. Only the Line, Area, Column and Bar chart types can be used to indicate certainty.

Let’s say that you’re trying to visualize Widget stock prices over the course of a week. You have one column for the weekday, and another for the average stock price. Because it’s Wednesday, you know what the stock prices were for Monday and Tuesday. To show that the prices you’re listing for those days are certain, whereas the prices for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are estimates, add a third column called “Certainty” to your data table.

Uncertainty data set

In the certainty column, use “True” to indicate certainty and “False” to indicate uncertainty. Now, insert a chart with these values by going to the Insert menu, and selecting Chart. Google Charts will recognize the True/False values in your third column as boolean values indicating certainty.

Uncertainty chart

In the Effects section of the Customize tab, you can select how you’d like to visualize the data points:

  • By showing the uncertain data points in dashes
  • By graying out the uncertain data points
  • Or, by emphasizing (bolding) the certain points against the uncertain ones

Learn more about how to customize your chart.

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

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