Google Sheets Charts – Deciding which chart to use

Which chart type you use depends on what type of data you have and what story you want to tell with it.  Google Sheets offers many types of charts.  Picking the chart that is most appropriate for each situation can make the difference between someone understanding your data or just being more confused. 

What are you trying to show?

  • Relationship
    • How do two or three variables compare to each other?
    • Two variables – Scatter Charts
    • Three variable – Bubble chart
  • Comparison
    • You are tyring to contrast two or more variables in relation to each other. Imagine that you have a long list of variables and you want to see how they relate to each other. Do they move in unison? Is there a close correlation between the values?
    • Among items
    • Over time
  • Distribution
    • You want to show where the data falls when aggregated together.
    • One variable – Historgram
    • Two variables – Scatter Charts
    • Three variables – 3D Area chart
  • Composition
    • What is my data made up of?
    • Over time
      • Column chart
      • Area chart
    • One point in time
      • Pie chart
      • Waterfall chart
      • Stack column chart?

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