Creating Charts (PC)

Creating a Chart

To create a chart, select the data that you want to be charted (if the data is in non-adjacent cells remember to hold down CTRL), go to the Insert tab and in the Charts group, and select the type of chart you want (Column, Line, Pie, Bar, Area, Scatter, or Other). 


Select the chart type you want to create by clicking on the type and selecting one of the options from the dropdown menu. When you click on a chart, the data that shows up on the horizontal axis is outlined in purple, whereas the data in in each data series is outlined in blue.


You should double check that this is how you want your data set up. In our example, the 2010 Census Tracts are along the horizontal axis and the population numbers for 2000 and 2010 are the two series, which is what we want.


Selecting Data

Sometimes you may want to change the selected data. There are multiple methods of doing so.

The first way to change the selected data is by right clicking on the chart and click on Select Data... from the dropdown menu.


The Select Data Source dialogue box will pop up. You can enter the new desired range of data in the Chart data range box, or you can edit individual series in the Legend Entries (Series) box by clicking on the desired series and selecting the Edit or Remove buttons. When you select Edit, the Edit Series dialogue box will pop up. 

You’ll notice in our example that the series are called Series 1 and Series 2. We can change that by editing each series. After selecting the series that you want to edit and clicking Edit, the Edit Series dialogue box will open. To add an additional series, simply click the Add button and select the additional data that you would like to include.

You can also edit the horizontal axis labels by clicking the Edit button in the Horozontal (Category) Axis Label field.


The following image displays the Edit Series dialogue box with the name of 'Series 1' changed to '2000.'


Another way to change the selected data is to click on the chart area to select the chart and then click on Select Data in the top Charts ribbon toolbar (specifically the Design tab of the Chart ribbon).

The Select Data Source dialogue box will pop up again, and the chart data can be changed as it was in the first method.


Inserting Chart without Selecting Data

You can also insert a chart without selecting the data first. The chart will appear as a white box because you haven’t selected the data for the chart.


To select the data you will need to right click on the chart and click on Select Data. You can enter the range of data in the Chart data range box. 


Make sure the cursor is in the Chart data range box and then select the data you want to graph. 


After you’ve selected your data, you’ll see that the Legend Entries box and the Horizontal Axis Labels box have the data in them.


Chart Parts

Move your mouse onto the chart and wait a second. Small labels will appear telling you which part of the chart your cursor is on (chart area, plot area, vertical axis, horizontal axis, or legend). There are tutorials on how to format each of these areas, which you can jump to by clicking on the links.


The Basics of Chart Tabs in the Ribbon

When you create a chart, 3 new tabs appear above the Ribbon under the heading Chart Tools. The tabs will disappear when you are not working on the chart. To access them, click on the chart.


The tabs are designed to help you format and edit the appearance of the chart. We’ll go over the Chart Tools Tabs more in depth later (link here), but if you continue on to the next sections, we will cover most of the features you will likely be using. 


<< Back to Manipulating Data II                 Continue to Formatting Charts >>


Return to Table of Contents

Learn all about charts in Google Sheets here
Questions, comments, concerns?
Send an email to the Empirical Reasoning Lab
Or drop by during the Lab's open hours