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A data-heavy spreadsheet can be difficult to read through and process. If you’re using Google Sheets, adding graphs to your spreadsheet can help you present this information differently for easier reading. Here’s how you can add graphs to your spreadsheet.

Before we begin, you should be aware of a slight difference in terminology. Like Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets refers to all types of graphs as charts. You can use the Chart Editor tool to create these graphs and charts in Google Sheets.

Insert a Chart into Google Sheets

You can create several different types of graphs and charts in Google Sheets, from the most basic line and bar charts for Google Sheets beginners to use, to more complex candlestick and radar charts for more advanced work.

RELATED: The Beginner's Guide to Google Sheets

To start, open your Google Sheets spreadsheet and select the data you want to use to create your chart. Click Insert > Chart to create your chart and open the Chart Editor tool.

In Google Sheets, click Insert > Chart to insert a chart

By default, a basic line chart is created using your data, with the Chart Editor tool opening on the right to allow you to customize it further.

A created chart in Google Sheets

Change Chart Type Using the Chart Editor Tool

You can use the Chart Editor tool if you want to change your chart type. If this doesn’t appear on the right automatically, double-click your chart to display the menu.

In the “Setup” tab, choose an alternative form of graph or chart from the “Chart Type” drop-down menu.

Different types of charts and graphs are grouped together. Click on one of the options to change your chart type from a line chart to something else.

In the Chart Editor tool, click the Setup tab, then choose a new chart type in the Chart Type drop-down menu

Once selected, your chart will immediately change to match this new chart type.

Add Chart and Axis Titles

Newly created charts will attempt to pull titles from the data range you’ve selected. You can edit this after the chart is created, as well as add additional axis titles to make your chart easier to understand.

In the Chart Editor tool, click the “Customize” tab and then click “Chart & Axis Titles” to display the submenu.

To add chart titles, click the Customize tab in the Google Sheets chart editor, then click Chart & Axis Titles

Customize Chart Titles

Google Sheets will generate a title using the column headers from the data range you used for your chart. The “Chart & Axis Titles” submenu will default to editing your chart title first, but if it hasn’t, select it from the provided drop-down menu.

Edit the chart title to your chosen alternative in the “Title Text” box.

Change your chart title in the Title Text box

Your chart title will automatically change once you’ve finished typing. You can also edit the font, size, and formatting of your text using the options immediately below the “Title Text” box.

Adding Axis Titles

Google Sheets doesn’t, by default, add titles to your individual chart axes. If you want to add titles for clarity, you can do that from the “Chart & Axis Titles” submenu.

Click the drop-down menu and select “Horizontal Axis Title” to add a title to the bottom axis or “Vertical Axis Title” to add a title to the axis on the left or right of your chart, depending on your chart type.

In the Chart & Axis Titles sub-menu, click the drop-down menu, then click Horizontal Axis Title or Vertical Axis Title

In the “Title Text” box, type a suitable title for that axis. The axis title will automatically appear on your chart once you finish typing.

Choose your axis title from the Chart & Axis Title drop-down menu, then add a title for that axis in the Title Text box

As with your chart title, you can customize the font and formatting options for your axis title using the provided options immediately below the “Title Text” box.

Change Chart Colors, Fonts, and Style

The “Customize” tab within the Chart Editor tool offers additional formatting options for your chart or graph. You can customize the colors, fonts, and overall style of your chart by clicking on the “Chart Style” submenu.

In the Customize tab of the Google Sheets Chart Editor, click the Chart Style sub-menu

From here, you can choose different chart border colors, fonts, and background colors from the drop-down menus provided. These options will vary slightly, depending on the type of chart you’ve selected.

To save time, you can also set Google Sheets to automatically generate charts using a data range that you can continuously edit or add to. This will give you a graph or chart that automatically changes as you make edits to the data.

Ben Stockton Ben Stockton
Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Cloudwards.net. He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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