While Google Sheets is a spreadsheet tool where data is entered and stored, plain cells are not the most efficient way to view that data.
And that’s where graphs and charts in Google Sheets come in.
This tutorial will show you how to create a bar graph in Google Sheets (many people also call it a bar chart).
A bar graph is one of the easiest charts to make. But it can be perfect for seeing trends and variations in data over time. You can always learn more about charts as you go to upgrade your skills.
So let’s get started!
How to Make a Bar Graph in Google Sheets
Suppose you have a dataset like shown below, and you want to create a bar graph in Google Sheets to view the sales values as the bars:
As this is a dataset to create a simple bar graph, you only need to plot one series on the chart. However, this is still quite useful in day-to-day work, and it allows you to visualize this data easily.
Below are the steps to create the bar graph in Google Sheets:
- Select the dataset (including the headers)
- In the toolbar, click on the ‘Insert chart’ icon. Doing so will insert a suggested chart in the worksheet
- In the Chart Editor (that automatically shows up in the right), click on the Setup tab, and change the chart type to Bar chart. In case Google Sheets inserts a bar chart by default, you don’t need to do this
- You can change the chart’s title by double-clicking on it, which allows you to enter whatever label you want manually.
The above steps would insert a bar graph in your worksheet.
How to Make a Stacked Bar Graph on Google Sheets
In the above example, we had a simple dataset with only one series.
But you can also work with multiple series and create stacked bar charts in Google Sheets.
Suppose you have a dataset as shown below, and you want to create a stacked bar chart using it:
Below are the steps to create a stacked bar graph in Google Sheets:
- Select the dataset (including the headers)
- In the toolbar, click on the ‘Insert chart’ icon.
- In the Chart Editor (that automatically shows up in the right), click on the Setup tab, and change the chart type to the Stacked Bar Chart. In case Google Sheets inserts a Stacked bar chart by default, you don’t need to do this step
- You can change the chart’s title by double-clicking on it; this allows you to enter whatever title you want manually.
The above steps would give you a stacked bar graph as shown below:
Making a 100% Stacked Bar Graph in Google Sheets
Like the standard stacked bar graph, you can also make a 100% stacked bar chart; Google Sheets allows you to create a chart where all the bars are equal in size, and the value of each series in a bar shows as a percentage.
To insert a 100% stacked bar graph, follow all the steps mentioned above to create a standard stacked bar chart and then make the following changes:
- Select the already inserted stacked bar chart
- Click on the three dots at the top right part of the chart, then click on Edit chart.
- In the Edit chart pane, click on Setup
- In the Stacking options, select 100%
The above steps would convert your regular chart to a 100% stacked bar chart (as shown below).
Once you have inserted the bar chart in the worksheet (regular of stacked), you can make some changes to it.
Let’s learn a little about how to customize and format this bar chart.
Customizing the Bar Graph
There are several things you can customize in the bar chart. And these options are available in the Chart editor tab.
To open the Chart Editor tab, click on the chart and click on the three-dotted lines that appear at the top-right of the graph. From the options that appear, click on the Edit Chart.
This will make the Chart Editor show up as a pane on the right.
In the Chart Editor, click on Customize option, and it will show you all the choices you have to customize and format the bar graph in Google Sheets.
Let’s quickly go through these options (the best way to learn how to use this would be to give this a try yourself):
- Chart style: This allows you to change the background and border color and the font style. So in case you need to use Verdana on all your charts, this is where you make those changes. There is also an option to maximize, which will expand the chart to occupy more space
- Chart and axis titles: Here, you can change the chart title, add a chart subtitle, and change the horizontal and vertical axis titles. You can also change the font type, size, and color/style. For example, you can make the font bold if you want.
- Series: Here, you can edit the series – such as the color of the bar. If you’ve created a stacked bar chart, you can choose the series for which you want to make the changes. An interesting option here is to change the color of a specific bar if you wish. For example, if Product B needs to be highlighted, you can choose a contrasting color (as shown below). You can also add error bars and data labels using this option.
- Legend: Here, you can change the legend setting, such as the position of the font format. Since we only have one series, having a legend doesn’t make sense. But it would be useful when you have multiple series (examples covered later in this tutorial)
- Horizontal Axis: Here, you can change the horizontal axis label font type, size, and format. You can also specify the maximum and minimum values of the chart (by default, the bar graph adjusts the maximum values based on the dataset).
- Vertical Axis: Here, you can change the vertical axis label font type, size, and format. You can also reverse the axis (which means that Product E will be shown at the top and Product A at the bottom)
- Gridlines: You can specify the color of major and minor gridlines or turn these off. I prefer not to have gridlines at all.
Another important chart that many people prefer is the column chart, which is just like a bar chart but has vertical columns instead of horizontal bars.
So this is how you can make a bar graph in Google Sheets and then customize it accordingly.
I hope you found this tutorial useful!
Google Sheets Bar Graph Template
Can’t be bothered learning how to create the bar graph in Google Sheets? We have you covered. Click on the following link to a basic Google Sheets bar graph template. There are four templates to use in this spreadsheet so you just have to navigate between the sheets at the bottom of the page.
You will also need to make a copy to edit the spreadsheet. To do this, open the file menu, then click make a copy.
An editable copy will open in a new tab.
How To Make A Bar Graph In Google Sheets FAQs
What’s the Difference Between a Column Graph and Bar Graph in Google Sheets?
Bar graphs and column graphs are very similar and are both great ways to show information in a digestible way. The primary difference between the two is the axis that the data flows. Bar graphs run from left to right, while column graphs show the data from bottom to top.
If you also want to add a line to your graph, you should do a column graph instead of a bar graph.
Once I Create a Bar Graph, How Do I Change the Titles, Legends, Series, Etc.?
You can make all of these changes through the chart editor tab.
- Double click on the chart
- Click on the customize tab
From here, you can choose what you’d like to edit. There is a more detailed explanation above of what each section does under the title Customizing the Bar Graph.
Other Google Sheets tutorials you may like: