How do I insert a chart in Google Sheets?

Spreadsheets are of the most ubiquitous software programs that help a user, beginner or advanced, to quickly get along with numbers. They not only help us store the data but also provide us with the necessary tools to derive insights. Google Sheets charts help the users to visualize data and inherent trends. In this article, we explain how to insert a chart in Google Sheets. We also briefly talk about the kinds of chart types and their typical real-world applications.

Google Sheets charts: how to insert

Please consider the snapshot below. We have a sample sales data, which we will try and insert a chart for.

google sheets charts 1

We will select the entire data (in this example, A1:B7), and then choose the menu option Insert > Chart, as shown in the image below.

google sheets charts 2

As a result of performing the previous step, Google Sheets inserts a chart type, that it deems fit to the data that we have chosen. In this example, it inserted a Line chart.

google sheets charts 3

But, we can change the chart type using the Chart editor, that pop out on the right-hand side of the screen. It goes away if we click elsewhere on the spreadsheet. It comes back on when we double-click on the chart. Let’s try changing it from Line chart to a Column chart. We can do so using the very first field on the DATA tab within the Chart editor.

google sheets charts 4

Apart from changing the chart type, Google Sheets provides us with a myriad of options through Chart editor, using which we can customize our charts. The DATAtab handles the configuration settings like source data, axis, and series definitions etc. So, we can change the data range of a chart, edit the axis, or edit/add another series to the existing chart.

The CUSTOMIZE tab handles all the appearance settings. So, we can amend the settings for chart style, colors, fonts, labels, legends, and title etc. from here. In the snapshot below, we changed the Chart style to 3D and Series color to brown.

google sheets charts 5

Chart types

Google Sheets charts come with wide variety of types. Which type is the best one to go with? It depends on the kind of data we are representing the chart with. So, before we even insert a chart in Google Sheets, we need to understand the purpose our chart is going to solve. Below is the list of the most commonly used chart types and the primary purpose they solve. There are other charts, but they are most advanced versions of the charts we talk about below.

Line chart

A line chart is typically used to represent changing trends that change over a period of time. If you need a chart that is time-sensitive, you may consider using a line chart. The third snapshot in this example is a Line chart.

Area chart

This is very similar to that of the line chart. An area chart is visually more defining when the users are keen on the variances or margins between different trends.

Column/Bar chart

We have used a column chart in this example. This is usually chosen to compare a similar variable.A bar chart is similar to a column chart, except the axes are flipped.  In the chart we have demonstrated above, we have compared sales across years. What if there is sales data corresponding to multiple regions? In this scenario, we can either use a clustered or a stacked column/bar chart.

google sheets charts 6

Pie chart

Consider that, we sales data from multiple regions. And, we need to see how each region contributes to the overall sales. In this scenario, a pie chart solves our purpose. It divides an overall pie (total sales) into individual slices (regional sales), based on their corresponding proportions. Higher the sales from a region, bigger is the slice of the pie.

Scatter chart

We use the scatter chart to visualize the correlation between two dependent variables. For example, the overall productivity of a company can vary in accordance with the level of employee satisfaction.


Depending upon the type of data, and the visualization purpose, we can choose a type of chart that suits our needs and accordingly insert a chart in Google Sheets accordingly. Read through the following blog post to learn how to insert a diagram in Google Sheets.

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