How to Create a Histogram in Google Sheets
Organizing complex data into a graph makes it easier for people to understand what you’re trying to say. It doesn’t matter if you’re presenting this information at a board meeting for work, in class for an assignment or for any other reason, one of the most common ways to show frequency distributions is by creating a histogram.
If you happen to use Google Drive for all your document creation needs, you might be wondering how to create a histogram in Google Sheets. Luckily, Google Sheets is a fairly user-friendly program and once you’ve created your histogram, you’ll be able to share it easily with others — no matter who that might be.
When it comes to learning how to make a histogram on Google Sheets, we’ll walk you through each step of the process. Our hope is that your final product looks amazing and helps people understand the data you’re presenting.
How to Create a Histogram in Google Sheets
When learning how to make a histogram in Google Sheets, the process is fairly quick and easy. Here are the steps you’ll need to undertake to use the easy histogram maker that’s included in this program:
Step 1: Open Google Drive
The first thing you’ll need to do when wondering how to create a histogram in Google Sheets is to open your Google Drive.
Using whatever browser you prefer, input your username and password when asked to do so.
Step 2: Click on the Google Sheet You Want to Add a Histogram to
To be able to use the Google Sheets histogram maker, after gaining access to your documents, you’ll need to look for and click on the project you want to add a histogram to.
If you haven’t created one yet, you’ll need to create a new Google Sheet and input the pertinent data into the cells.
Step 3: Determine Which Data to Use and Highlight it
Whether you opened an existing document or created a new one, the next thing you’ll need to do when learning how to make a histogram in Google Sheets is to choose which data you are going to use.
Highlight those cells.
Using your mouse and cursor, you’ll know that you’ve selected the right cells because there will be a blue border around them.
Make sure you also include a header in your selection.
Step 4: Insert Your Chart
When asking how to create a histogram in Google Sheets, after selecting the data you want to be included in the chart, you’ll then need to click on the Insert tab at the top of the sheet in the menu bar.
When the drop-down menu appears, click on “Chart.”
Step 5: Create a Histogram
Clicking on “Chart” will open a “Chart editor” menu on the right-hand side of your Google Sheet.
At the top of this menu is another drop-down menu with the header “Chart type.”
You’ll need to click on the down arrow, then look for the “Other” category. You may need to scroll to find it.
You should see an image that looks like a bar graph, but when you place your cursor over it, “Histogram” will appear.
Click on this.
The histogram will automatically be added to your Google Sheet.
How to Create a Histogram in Google Sheets: Making Edits
After learning how to make a histogram in Google Sheets, you may find that you need to do some editing. To make changes to your histogram, you’ll want to do the following:
Step 1: Select the Chart
If the chart is no longer selected, you’ll need to use your mouse to click on it.
The blue border should appear around the outside of the box to let you know you’ve selected the histogram.
Step 2: Open the Chart Editor
After selecting the histogram, click the right button on your mouse. This will open an editing menu with a list of options to make changes to your chart.
From the list, choose which one you want to edit.
For example, if you need Google Sheets chart multiple ranges of data, you’ll choose the “Data range” option at the bottom of the menu.
Clicking on that will open the chart editor on the right-hand side of the screen.
Step 3: Make Your Edits
When adding more ranges of data, under the editor menu, you’ll go to the “Series” section and click the “Add Series” button. Another menu will open, and you’ll want to click on the box with a cross in it.
Yet another menu will open, and the dialogue box in the middle will ask you to select a range.
When figuring out how to create a histogram in Google Sheets, from the data, choose the cell that will be the start of your data, add a colon, then type in the cell that will close the data set.
Your new series of data will be added to the histogram.
In addition to adding more ranges of data, other editing options you can choose from include:
- “Chart area”
- “Chart style”
- “Chart & axis titles”
- “Gridlines and ticks”
Should you find that you want to change the color of your histogram, you’ll need to click on the “Series” option and look for the “Fill color” option.
Once you click on the down arrow, you’ll be able to change the color to what you think looks best.
Editing the Histogram Bin Size
When wondering how to create a histogram in Google Sheets, another edit you may decide to make might be to the Google Sheets histogram bin size.
Making these edits could ensure that the data in your chart is easier to read and understand, so consider playing around with this a bit to determine what makes your chart look good.
What Is a Bin?
Before getting into the steps to help you edit your bin size, it’s helpful to know exactly what this is.
Even though histograms look like bar charts, they are different. They group data into “bins” of equal width, and then each of those bins is plotted as a bar with the height corresponding to how many data points are included in each set.
“Bins” may also be referred to as “buckets” (as they are in Google Sheets), “intervals” or “classes.”
When it comes to editing the bins using the easy histogram maker in Google Sheets, here are the steps you’ll need to take:
Step 1: Select the Chart
The first step in this process assumes that you have already learned how to create a histogram in Google Sheets and are still in the document with the chart.
If not, make sure to log in to your Google Drive, open the Google Sheet you want to edit, then highlight the chart.
Step 2: Open the Chart Editor
If the “Chart editor” menu isn’t open, in the upper right-hand corner of the histogram, you will see three vertical dots.
Clicking on these will open a drop-down menu, and the first option on the list is “Edit chart.”
Click on that to open the editor on the right-hand side of the screen.
Once the editor is open, at the top, you will see two choices:
Click on the “Customize” tab.
Step 3: Click the Down Arrow by “Histogram”
Once the editor menu has been opened, near the top of the list of options, you should see “Histogram” with a down arrow on the left-hand side.
Click on the arrow.
Step 4: Choose Your Bin Size
Clicking on the down arrow will open another set of options, including the ability to change the “Bucket size.”
To figure out exactly how large your buckets/bins should be, you’ll want to find the smallest and largest data point in your sheet.
When it comes to Google Sheets histogram decimal places, you’ll need to round these numbers to ensure your data is presented correctly.
For example, if you have the numbers 1.2 and 99.9, these will become a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 100.
Step 5: Decide How Many Bins You Need
Deciding how many bins you’ll need will depend on the amount of data you have and how many bars you want on your chart.
There are no strict rules on the number of bins you need to use. You don’t want to use too many, and you don’t want too few.
You have the option of changing the number of bins within the editing menu and seeing how this impacts the presentation of the information.
Not only should you find the bin size that you think looks best, but you’ll also need to keep your audience in mind. Which display will make it easier for them to understand what your information is trying to tell them?
Under “Bucket size,” you will see an arrow. When you click on that, it will bring up a list of numbers you can choose from.
Don’t think that you are limited to only these numbers. You can also type a specific number into the box, then hit enter. This will allow you to customize the bin size even further.
Step 6: Creating Bin Boundaries
When it comes to creating the bin boundaries, you’ll want to start with the smallest number (which you determined using the steps listed above) and add that to the bin size.
Again, you can play around with the numbers to see how it impacts your histogram and figure out exactly what makes your information the easiest to read.
Other Formatting Options
Some of the other formatting options you might consider when it comes to learning how to create a histogram in Google Sheets is to add divider lines and/or gridlines and ticks.
Either or both of these could make it easier for your viewers to see exactly what is going on in each bar on your histogram.
To find these other formatting options, you’ll need to go to the “Chart editor” and click on the “Customize” tab.
Under the drop-down for “Histogram,” there is a box with “Show item dividers” next to it. By checking that box, your bars will become “dashed” or “dotted,” which indicates the different points of data included in each.
Gridlines and ticks can make it easier for viewers to see where the different data points hit on the chart. These can also be found in the editor under the “Customize” tab.
“Gridlines and ticks” is the last option on the list, and when you click on the down arrow, different options will appear.
Typically, the major gridlines are shown by default, but you can also add minor ones as well. If you want to include these, you’ll need to make sure the box next to the name is checked.
Major and minor ticks can also be included, again by checking the box.
When it comes to the major and minor gridlines, if you are so inclined, you can make them stand out even more by changing their color.
For the major and minor ticks, you can change their position and length, in addition to the color.
Making these changes will come down to personal preference and what you think your histogram needs to make it easier for people to read.
The Best Way to Organize Complicated Data
Histograms are beneficial when you are trying to show your audience frequency distributions. They take complicated data and make it visually appealing. Should you be wondering how to create a histogram in Google Sheets, you’ll follow these steps:
- Open Google Drive
- Click on the Google Sheet You Want to Add a Histogram to
- Determine Which Data to Use and Highlight it
- Insert Your Chart
- Create a Histogram
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