How to make a graph on Google Docs - All you need to know
Written by: Hrishikesh Pardeshi, Founder at Flexiple, buildd & Remote Tools.
Last updated: Jan 19, 2023
One extensively used feature of Microsoft Word and Excel is adding graphs and charts to a document/ sheet. However, in recent years, there have been a lot of users preferring to make use of Google Docs and Sheets, Google’s alternatives to these tools. In the following paragraphs, we show you how to make a graph on Google Docs and all you need to know about it.
There is a limitation to this process, though. Note that it isn’t possible to directly add graphs to Google Docs - you’d have to create charts in Google Sheets, and then import them to Google Docs.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Importing charts from existing sheets - why can’t you directly insert a graph on Google Docs?
- How to make a graph on Google Docs? Step by step process for making a graph on PC, Mac or Chromebook
- How to make edits to the graph on a computer
- Adding specific types of graphs in Google Docs
- How to make a graph on Google Docs? Step by step process for making a graph on Android and iPhone
- How to make edits to a Google Sheets graph on a mobile device
Importing charts from existing sheets - why can’t you directly insert a graph on Google Docs?
The truth is, you can actually insert a chart in Google Docs directly, by selecting ‘Insert -> Chart’ and selecting the type of chart you wish to insert. However, you would have to make use of static charts in such a case. Static charts don’t let you change data once drawn.
When using Google Sheets, adding dynamic data is easier and you can also smoothly select which data you’d actually like to be used in the graph. Making use of dynamic data allows you to change values in the graph. This helps in making a graph that presents clear data and is easy to understand.
How to make a graph on Google Docs? Step by step process for making a graph on PC, Mac, or Chromebook
Inserting a graph from an existing Spreadsheet:
- If you already have the data you want to insert into the graph on your Doc, ready in a graph in a Spreadsheet, on the top menu in your Doc, click on ‘Insert -> Chart -> From Sheets.’ All the spreadsheets that are accessible to you will be displayed.
- Select the one you want to import the graph from, select the graph, and select ‘Import.’ Check the ‘Link to spreadsheet’ option if you’d like to dynamically edit the data.
Creating a new Spreadsheet to make a graph:
In this method, you will be creating a new Spreadsheet yourself.
- Open the Google Doc where you wish to add the graph. Click on ‘File -> New -> Spreadsheet’. A new Google Sheet file will open.
- In this, fill the cells with the data that you’d like to convert to a graph.
- On the top menu, select ‘Insert -> Chart’ and a chart will appear in the spreadsheet.
- Now, you can go back to the doc and select ‘Insert -> Chart -> From Sheets’ and select the sheet in which the graph is present, select the graph.
Pasting graphs directly from Spreadsheets to Docs:
In both the above steps, once you have the graph in a Spreadsheet, you can directly paste it onto your doc.
- Select the graph and copy it using ‘Ctrl + C’ (Windows), or ‘Cmd + C’ (Mac).
- Paste it into the document using ‘Ctrl + V’ or ‘Cmd + V’ on Windows and Mac respectively.
- In the ‘Paste chart’ menu that appears, select whether you want to link to the Spreadsheet or paste the graph without linking.
Note: The first option allows you to dynamically edit your data. This means you can make edits, add and remove data in the spreadsheet, and this will be automatically updated in the graph in the document.
How to make edits to the graph on a computer
To make edits to the graph on Google Docs, such as modifying the type of graph and changing the data, you’d have to open it in Spreadsheets.
- Select the graph in Google Docs by clicking on it.
- At the top right corner of the graph, a link icon is shown. Click on this and select ‘Open source.’ Now, the Google Sheets file will open.
- In this sheet, select the graph and double click to open the ‘Chart Editor’. This contains two tabs, ‘Setup’ and ‘Customize’.
- The ‘Setup’ tab, under ‘Chart type’ contains the various types of graphs you can use. Select the one that is best suited for your data.
- If the ‘Link to Spreadsheet’ option was selected, then the graph in your document will reflect an ‘Update’ option when changes are made to the data in the Spreadsheet. Select this to insert the changes to the graph.
Editing the legend of the graph:
- To make edits to the graph’s legend, open the graph from its source Spreadsheet and double click to access the ‘Chart Editor.’
- Go to the ‘Customize’ tab and scroll down, you will see the ‘Legend’ section drop-down menu. Click on it.
- The following edit options are available in the Legend section:
- Position: Auto/ To a particular side/ Inside
- Legend font, Legend font size, Legend format, Text color
- Edit the legend as you desire.
Adding specific types of graphs in Google Docs
How to make a Bar Graph?
Based on your data type, Google will suggest the most appropriate graph for it, but you can also easily select the type of graph that you want.
A bar chart is similar to a column chart, but with the axis reversed. All categories are combined in a stacked bar chart into one bar, differentiated by different colors.
- To choose a bar graph, open the source Spreadsheet of the graph, then open the Chart Editor by double-clicking on the graph, and go to the ‘Setup’ tab.
- Click on ‘Chart type’ and several types of graphs will appear. Under the ‘Bar’ section, select the one you wish to use.
You can either select ‘Bar chart’, ‘Stacked bar chart’ or ‘100% stacked bar chart.’
The 100% stacked bar chart is similar to the stacked bar chart, but also shows how much percentage of the total is taken up by each category.
How to make a Line Graph?
The process for making a line graph is very similar to the above process.
- To choose a line graph, open the Spreadsheet with your graph, open the Chart Editor by double-clicking on the graph and go to the ‘Setup’ tab.
- Click on ‘Chart type’ and several types of graphs will appear. Under the ‘Line’ section, select the one you wish to use.
You can select either select ‘Line chart’, ‘Smooth line chart’ or ‘Combo chart’ which is the combination of a column and line chart. The ‘Smooth line chart’ smooths out the line instead of connecting each data point by straight lines.
How to make a graph on Google Docs? Step by step process for making a graph on Android and iPhone
The Google Docs mobile app, unfortunately, doesn’t allow adding graphs directly, so you have to follow a bit of a roundabout process for this.
Similar to the process on a computer, you’d have to first create the graph on a Spreadsheet/ make use of an existing graph in a Spreadsheet. For this, make sure you have both the apps installed in your phone.
- Apple App Store: Google Docs, Google Sheets
- Google Play Store: Google Docs, Google Sheets
Creating a graph on Google Sheets
- Open the Google Sheets app on your mobile device, then either select an existing spreadsheet or make a new one by clicking on the ‘+’ icon at the bottom right.
- Add the data you wish to use in the graph and select it by dragging.
- Now, tap the ‘+’ button on the top menu of the app. This is the equivalent of the ‘Insert’ option on a computer.
- Select ‘Chart’ and change the available parameters in the chart. Save your changes by tapping on the checkmark icon at the top left of the screen.
Importing the graph on Google Docs mobile
Since the Google Docs mobile app doesn’t allow you to directly import a graph, you’d have to do this by opening the desktop app on your browser.
- On your mobile device, open Chrome or any other browser you use. In the browser menu, check the option for ‘Desktop site’ or the equivalent in your browser. (In case your browser doesn’t seem to have this option, you’ll have to use Chrome).
- Now, go to docs.google.com and either create a new doc where you want to import the graph or open an existing one from the list shown.
- You should be logged into your account to access the doc you wish to edit.
- Tap your doc where you want to insert the chart and select ‘Insert’ from the top menu. Select ‘Chart.’
- Similar to the process you’d follow on a computer, press ‘From Sheets.’ From the pop-up window that appears, select the sheet you wish to add the graph from and press ‘Select.’
- Next tap the chart you want to insert into the doc and press ‘Insert’ on the pop-up window. The chart will show up in your document.
How to make edits to a Google Sheets graph on a mobile device
- Open the Google Sheets app and open the Spreadsheet which contains the graph you’ve copied to your document.
- Select the graph you wish to make edits to and tap on it to select it.
- Edit the chart by tapping on the pencil icon at the top right. Here you can select the desired graph type (line, bar, etc.), make edits to the position of the legend, the titles on the graph and also the color.
- Once you’re done with all the changes, tap the checkmark at the top left of the screen to see the updated version of the graph on the sheet.
- To see the same updated version of the graph when you open the graph in Google Docs, press ‘Update’ on the graph.
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