Google Sheets, like its local HDD equivalent Microsoft Excel, is a shareable cloud-based electronic spreadsheet app from Google that you can depend on to turn any table of data or data set into handy line graphs, pie charts, and bar graphs.
The bar graph in particular is quite dependable when it comes to showing each data category in a frequency distribution while also displaying relative numbers or proportions of multiple categories.
With that in mind, let’s discuss how to make a bar graph in google sheets!
Why Make a Bar Graph in Google Sheets?
Why not make a bar graph in Google Sheets? Its cloud-based, scalable, and editable nature allows you to easily adjust information on any given table template and get instant visual representations of the data in graph, table, or chart form.
What’s more, the bar graph in particular visually summarizes a large data set that you can parse or understand at a glance. Furthermore, compared to tables and their numbers, you can get a better idea of magnitudes and proportions of your data when looked at a bar graph.
Stacked vs. Standard Bar Graphs
A stacked bar graph, meanwhile, allows you to chart out multiple data sets at a glance. For example, you can compare your monthly sales performance in 2019, 2020, and 2021 in one go by going stacked versus a standard bar graph’s singular year comparison.
Essentially, these graphs offer you a visual idea of key values in one look as opposed to calculating in your head the difference in magnitude of a billion to a million or a million to a hundred thousand. How reasonable your calculations are can also be checked visually through the bar graph as well.
How to Make a Bar Graph in Google Sheets
Let’s open a spreadsheet in order to make that bar graph. Here, we’ve got a spreadsheet that already has an existing line graph of the data presented.
In a previous article, I made a line graph outlining the revenues of different conglomerates from 2019 to 2021. That line graph can be turned into a bar graph.
Method 1: Edit and Change an Existing Graph
Step 1: Right-click the existing graph and on the resulting menu, select “Chart type“. In our case, we’re going to change the line graph into a bar graph.
Step 2: On the ensuing “Chart editor” sidebar, go to “Setup“, click on the “Chart type” drop-down menu, and then pick the “Bar graph” option.
Step 3: Once you’ve selected “Bar chart” (also known as “Bar graph”), exit the Chart editor by pressing “X” in order to admire your handiwork.
This should be your finished product, more or less.
Method 2: Make a New Graph from Scratch
Let’s now discuss how the data set was turned into different graph and chart types in the first place. By scrolling down, we should see a new data set on the spreadsheet that hasn’t gotten a graph or chart made for it yet.
Step 1: Select the data set or table you want to make a chart of. Instead of using the old one, let’s go with this newer, simpler table.
Step 2: You have two methods to insert a new chart and a chart editor. The first one involves pressing the “Insert Chart” button on the shortcut bar. It’s the easiest way to make a chart.
The other method—the relatively longer, harder one—involves going to the “Insert” menu and selecting “Chart” as your option or feature of choice.
Step 3: You should now end up getting some sort of graph for the data as you open the Chart editor. In my case, I got a column chart. All I need to do is change the chart type to bar graph.
Step 4: Go to “Chart type” and select “Bar chart” (Bar graph) in order to change the type of chart. My column chart has now turned into a bar chart at the click of a drop-down menu.
Step 5: You should now have your fresh new data set end up as a new bar graph. You also have loads of bar graph types to choose from.
For example, this is the basic bar chart or graph that outlines my sudden burst of productivity in November and December of 2019.
Here’s the stacked bar chart or graph. Additional data is needed to make a stacked bar chart work. Therefore, I included my output for 2020 and 2021. 2021 was a particularly productive year, and for some reason, I’m most productive every November.
As for the 100% stacked bar chart or graph, it deals more with comparative percentages relative to each month or category. You can access the 100% stacked bar chart by the “Chart type” drop-down menu or by the “Stacking” drop-down menu.
The highest percentage is the one with the biggest magnitude and the lower amounts are compared to this percentage.
The “Stacking” dropdown menu asks you whether you want “None”, “Standard”, or “100%” stacking. Here’s what the “None” option looks like. “Standard” looks like the stacked bar graph and “100%” looks like the “100% stacked bar graph“.
Finally, go to the “Customise” or “Customize” tab in order to design your own style and aesthetics of bar graph.
You have a multitude of options to choose from, including changing the legend or which data point is assigned to what point in the chart.
To Sum It Up
To sum it all up, in order to get a bar graph of your data set, just go to the “Insert” menu and select “Chart”. The shortcut bar on the graphical user interface of Google Sheets should also have an “Insert chart” button near the “Create a filter” and “Functions” buttons.
From there, select “Bar graph/chart” as the Chart type. You can also edit the chart type of an existing line graph or pie chart to become a bar graph if you wish.
Also make sure your data set is something that can benefit from a bar graph. Most line graphs can also be turned into bar graphs though, so what works with a line graph should also work with a bar graph.
- David Petro, “Create a Bar Graph with Google Sheets“, YouTube, November 2, 2015
- John Bonini, “How to Create A Bar Graph (and more) in Google Sheets“, Databox.com, June 28, 2021
- Devon Delfino, “How to make a bar graph on Google Sheets in 5 simple steps, to make your spreadsheet data more digestible“, Business Insider, November 30, 2019