How to Create Column Charts in Google Sheets

Google Sheets has a wide variety of charts and graphs ready for you to use. These charts help you visualize your data and also help you better comprehend and present your findings.

One of the most common chart types is the column chart, where different categories are represented as rectangular columns in a chart. Column charts are often used to represent and compare groups of data.

Though Google Sheets automatically predicts your intent and chooses a chart type for your data, its prediction is still prone to error. Read on to learn about column charts and how to create one.


What Is a Column Chart?

A column chart, often referred to as a bar chart, shows values as rectangular columns or bars. A column chart is best used to demonstrate and compare values from different categories. For instance, if you have the number of members of different clubs in your university, you could best demonstrate this with a column chart.

Of course, there is no obligation on what chart to use for a given set of data, but using the right chart for your data makes interpretation and analysis easier, both for yourself and your audience.

You can also use the column chart to show the changes of a single or multiple series in a time period. However, the line chart is preferred for that context.

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Google Sheets has a way with charts where it automatically decides which chart type is the best suitable to display the data you’ve selected. Though Google Sheets is often correct in this decision, you can always change the chart type from the chart settings.

Related: How to Create a Line Graph in Google Sheets

How to Create a Column Chart in Google Sheets


A column chart in Sheets.

In this example, we have the count of SUV cars of a rental service. The goal is to create a column chart to demonstrate the number of cars.

  1. Select both columns.
  2. Go to Insert, and then click Chart. Sheets will automatically create a chart. In our case, this was a pie chart. We want a column chart, so we will change the chart type.
  3. Go to Chart editor and then click the Setup tab.
  4. Change the Chart type to Column chart. You now have a column chart!


Related: How to Make a Graph or Chart in Excel

How to Customize a Column Chart in Google Sheets


A customized column chart in Sheets.

Once you have created your column chart, you can go on and customize it. You can add a 3D effect to it, change the colors, and even add a trendline.

Changing Chart Color, Font, and Style

You can change the background color and the font from Chart style in Chart editor.

  1. Double-click the chart to bring up Chart editor.
  2. Go to the Customize tab and then open Chart style. Here you can change the font, border, and background color.
  3. Check the 3D setting to give your columns a 3D look.
  4. Check the Maximize option to set the greatest value as the max for the chart.
  5. Check Compare mode to enable the tooltip that appears when you hover over a data point on the chart.

Changing Column Color and Style

Changing the background color doesn’t affect the columns. You can change the color of the column from the Series settings.

  1. Double-click the chart to go to Chart editor.
  2. Go to the Customize tab.
  3. Go to the Series section. You can change the color and style of your columns here.

Adding a Trendline

A trendline helps you recognize the trend in your chart, and see where it is headed. You can add a trendline to your chart and customize it by checking a simple setting.

  1. Double-click the chart and go to Chart editor.
  2. In the Customize tab, go to Series.
  3. Check the Trendline setting.
  4. Customize the trendline to your liking.

Adding Gridlines and Ticks

Gridlines break down the chart into smaller units and make comprehending the chart easier for you and your audience.

  1. Double-click the chart to go to Chart editor.
  2. In the Customize tab, scroll all the way down to Gridlines and ticks.
  3. Select the axis where you want to add a gridline or a tick. Since the numbers in this chart are on the vertical axis, the gridlines are only available on that axis. You can only add ticks to the horizontal axis.
  4. Check Minor gridlines to enable them. You can then change the spacing type and the count.
  5. Check Minor ticks or Major ticks to enable them. Ticks and gridlines follow the same settings for spacing and count.

Visualize Your Goals

Column charts are handy visualizations that let you compare different categories. Now you know how to create one and customize its colors, font, style, and even add a trendline to it.

Graphs are at their full potential when they’re used for the right context, so make sure you have chosen the right chart type before creating one.


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