Presenting data in numbers and letters does not hold appealing power to the audience. Without proper data visualization, it is hard to comprehend the meaning of the data and thus lose a chance to learn the insights the data delivers. Using graphs and charts can greatly increase data visibility and the audience can easily understand what the data tells them. If your data set is kept in Google Sheets and wanting to find a way to effectively share it with other people, read through this article.
We will discuss how to make a line graph in Google Sheets and also learn various chart types.
When to use a line graph
There are various types of graphs and charts you can use to visualize your data. Each type has a different purpose. It is important to understand the types and their proper usage.
The line chart, or line graph, is used to present continuous data. This type of graph connects multiple distinct data points to show the continuity of data. You can use line charts to show trends in data over time. For example, you can use the chart to show the changes in the stock price over ten years. You can see the relations between one value (x-axis) to another (y-axis).Bar chart
The bar chart, or bar graph, is one of the most common visualization types. You can use this chart style to compare data points across categories, emphasize differences, show trends and outliers, and show historical data movements. A bar chart is one of the best ways to represent a set of data that can be split into multiple categories.
The pie chart is useful when adding detail to other charts. When it’s used alone as a single chart, it does not give the viewer a way to compare sets of data accurately. It is recommended to use the chart to drill down on other visualizations.
The scatter plot, or scatter chart, becomes effective when you want to investigate the relationship between different variables. You can use it to reveal if one variable is a good predictor of another or if they behave independently. Scatter plots present many distinct data points on a single chart. People can use the chart to enhance their analytics by clustering or trending lines.
The map is an irreplaceable type of chart to visualize location data. All geo-location data types including postal codes, states, countries, or longitudes and latitudes can be visualized using the maps. If you want to present location data, maps are the easiest and the most straightforward way to visualize the data.
Density maps show patterns or relative concentrations on a map. Using this map type, we can identify locations with higher or lower numbers of data points. Density maps are effective when handling a data set containing many data points in a small area.
The bubble chart can be helpful to show the relations between multiple measures. You can use the chart to clearly compare different measures by the size of bubbles.
How to make a line graph in Google Sheets
Let’s learn how we can draw each line graph type on Google Sheets. If you want to follow the steps, here is the sample data file you can use.
You can either copy and paste the contents inside the file directly into Google Sheets or can use the import feature at “File” => “Import”. There you can select the downloaded file.
- Select the first two columns by dragging your mouse cursor. The area you select will be used to create a line graph.
- Find and select the Insert Chart icon on the menu bar in the top right corner.
3. You will be able to see a line graph generated using the data table you selected.
You can see that by default the first column became the horizontal axis and the second became the vertical axis. The first and second column names were used as the axis titles for x- and y-axes.
In the first step when you selected the data table area, you can also try to select a different data range. Depending on the area you select, the graph will become different.
Create different line chart types
Google Sheets has several chart types. The chart type for a line graph is called a line chart in Google Sheets. What you just created is called a normal line chart. In Google Sheets, there are three types of line charts.
- Normal line chart
- Smooth line chart
- Combo chart
Using the different chart types, you can present your data set in various ways. To try a chart type:
- Double click the chart to make the chart editor pane appear on the right side.
- On the Setup tab, click “Line chart” in the Chart type section. It will expand the chart type options.
- On the pane, fine the Line section that has three options.
Normal line chart
This is the most basic chart type in the line graph group. By selecting this regular line chart, you can draw a single line You can draw a single line following a series of data.
Smooth line chart
The normal line chart makes sharp line movements. If you want to smooth the graph changes, you can try this type.
The combo chart can be used to present two different data columns. To try this chart, expand the selection of the data into the third column and click the graph icon again. It will show you a graph with two straight lines in different colors. That is the normal line chart type but with double lines.
- Double click the chart to open the chart editor.
- Select the chart type dropdown menu.
- Under the line section, select the third one – combo chart.
In the above example, you can see that the revenue and net income data are presented in different graph types – a line chart and a stacked bar chart.
When you are happy with the line graph layout, you can further customize it. On the chart editor pane, you can update the chart style including background color, font, chart border color, and more.
To update graph styles,
- Go to the same chart editor pane by double clicking the chart.
- Find the Customize tab.
- Expand the chart style menu.
You will be able to see there are several options. The best way to learn each option is to actually try. Try to change the background color and font style that you like. Besides the chart style, you will be able to see there are other customization options such as chart and axis titles, series, legend, horizontal axis, vertical axis, and gridlines and ticks. You can modify these options if you don’t like the default styles.
You can quickly access these menus by right-clicking the chart itself.
Here are brief explanations of each option.
- Chart & Axis Titles: You can update the titles of your chart and each axis. The title font, title font size, title format, and title text color can be changed
- Series: You can change the line thickness, the marker point size, and the marker point share. You can add an aggregation display to the chart. You can customize markers and add error bars, data labels, and trendlines.
- Legend: You can adjust the position of your legend and the legend’s font, size, format, and text color.
- Horizontal Axis and Vertical Axis: In the two menus, you can change the font, font size, format, color of the axes, and more.
- Gridlines: You can change the count of major and minor gridlines and their colors. Gridlines are useful for viewers to understand the scale of the data.
How to download Google Sheets with the line graph
Since Google Sheets is a cloud tool, all your work will be saved in your cloud storage for Google Sheets. If you want to download the sheets into your local storage, you can do that. Follow the steps below.
- Go to File.
- Find the Download menu.
- Select the file type.
When you select a file type, the sheets will be downloaded. If you select the xlsx file type, you can open your work in Microsoft Excel or in Numbers for Mac. The graphs you produce in Google Sheets will still be there.
How to share Google Sheets with the line graph
If your purpose for downloading the file is to share it with other people, consider directly sharing your work using a link. Just like you can share the documents in Google Docs with other people, you can do the same for Google Sheets.
To do so, find the share button on the top right corner. You can put the emails of the people you want to share with. Or, you can copy a unique link to the Google Sheets and share it with others. If you want to unshare your work later, you can follow this guide for unsharing Google Docs. Although it is a different tool, unsharing follows the same steps.
Another option is to email the chart directly to the person. Google Sheets (and other Google Suites) has that option under the File menu.
- Go to File
- Find the Email option.
- Select the email this file.
- Put the recipient’s email address and send.
You can change the email subject, the message, and the file type.
Before jumping into making a line graph in Google Sheets, it is important to double-check if a line graph is the best way to present your data or if there is any other chart type that suits you better. If you have decided to use a line graph, generating a graph is not difficult. Once you create a line graph, try different styles and options to beautify your graph!
If you want to find out more about Google cloud suites:
- Google Drive vs Google Docs: Choose the Right One!
- How to Alphabetize in Google Docs with Video Guide Included
- How to do a hanging indent on Google Docs + 7 more useful tips
- How to Unshare a Google Doc with Video Guide