Column and Bar Charts with Google Sheets

By Jack Dougherty, last updated April 4, 2017

Follow these tutorials to create different types of column and bar charts with Google Sheets http://sheets.google.com on the Google Drive platform. Requires free account.

  • Grouped
  • Separated
  • Stacked
  • Histograms

Grouped Column and Bar Charts

Best to compare categories side-by-side. Vertical columns, or horizontal bars for long labels.

Try it: This grouped column chart shows differences in obesity between men and women in each age bracket. Float your cursor over columns to view data details.


View data from CDC and StateOfObesity.org

Tutorial:

1) Right-click to open link in new tab: Google Sheet Column chart with grouped data template

2) Sign in to your Google Drive or sign up for a free account

3) Select File > Make a Copy to save your own version to your Google Drive.

Sign in to Google and File > Make a Copy
Sign in to Google and File > Make a Copy

4) To remove the current chart from your copy of the spreadsheet, select it and press the delete.

5) Format your data in a similar way as shown below. Each row is a data series, which displays as a separate color in the chart.

Grouped column chart data table
Grouped column chart data table

6) Use your cursor to select only the data you wish to chart, then select Insert > Chart.

Select data and Insert > Chart
Select data and Insert > Chart

7) In the Chart Editor > Recommendations tab, choose your preferred Column chart (or horizontal Bar chart for longer labels), or see more options in Chart Types tab. Press the Insert button.

See more options in Chart Types tab
See more options in Chart Types tab

8) To customize title, labels, and more, click the editing controls in the upper-right corner.

Customize with editing controls
Customize with editing controls

9) To make your data public, select the blue Share button > Advanced, then Change from Private to Public On the Web, with Anyone Can View.

Screencast: Share your Google Sheet
Screencast: Share your Google Sheet

10) To embed your chart in another website, click the upper-right chart editing controls, select Publish Chart, select Embed, and press the Publish button. Copy the iframe code and see the Embed on Your Web chapter in this book.

11) Reminder: Currently, there is no easy way to cite or link to your source data inside a Google Sheets chart. Instead, cite and link to your source data in the text of the web page, as shown in the example at the top.

Separated Column and Bar Charts

Best to compare categories in separate clusters. Vertical columns, or horizontal bars for long labels.

Try it: This separated bar chart shows calorie counts of fast food items, separated by restaurant chains. The horizontal bar offers more space for longer labels. Float your cursor over bars to explore data details.


View data from Starbucks and McDonalds

Tutorial:

1) Right-click to open this link in a new tab: Google Sheet Column chart with separated data template

2) Follow similar steps in the first tutorial above.

3) Format your data in a similar way as shown below. Each column is a data series, which displays as a separate color in the chart.

Bar chart data table
Bar chart data table

4) In the Chart Editor > Recommendations tab, choose your preferred Bar chart, or see more options in Chart Types tab.

Stacked Column and Bar Charts

Best to compare sub-categories, or parts of a whole. Vertical columns, or horizontal bars for long labels.

Try it: This stacked column chart compares the percentage of overweight residents across nations. Float your cursor over columns to view data details.


View data from WHO and CDC

Tutorial:

1) Begin by opening this link in a new tab: Google Sheets Stacked column chart template

2) Follow most of the same steps in first tutorial above.

3) Format your data in a similar way as shown below. Each column is a data series, which displays as a separate color in the chart.

Stacked column chart data table
Stacked column chart data table

4) In the Chart Editor > Recommendations tab, choose Stacked column chart (or Stacked bar chart if you prefer a horizontal orientation), or see more options in Chart Types tab.

Histograms

Best to show the distribution of raw data, with number of values in each bucket. Typically displayed in vertical columns.

Try it to come*

Tutorial: to come *

  • Format data into two columns
    • data labels in the first column
    • numeric values in second column

Data Visualization For All is copyrighted by Jack Dougherty and contributors and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may freely share and modify this content for non-commercial purposes, with a source credit to http://DataVizForAll.org.
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