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How to Make a Beautiful Graph Using Google Docs (in 2021)

In this blog post, I'll dive into how to make a graph in Google Docs and make it look beautiful for your next presentation.
How to Make a Beautiful Graph Using Google Docs (in 2021)

As we interact with different aspects of our world, we require tools that will help us to better understand and engage them because information can get complex and data-heavy. The use of graphs can simplify our organization and interpretation of such data by presenting visual displays of the information. I will show you how to make these kinds of graphs on Google Docs.

To make a graph on Google Docs, select “Insert”, then “Chart” and select your desired type of graph. Select the link icon on the graph which will take you to a Google Sheet document where you will input the graph’s information. You will return to Google Docs and click update on the graph so your information can populate.

I will explain the best kind of information to use for XY and Bar Graphs. I will also show you how to organize information for these graphs and how to make them using Google Docs. I will then guide you on how to edit the Bar Graphs to reflect changes you want to make to your information.

How to Make an XY Graph Using Google Docs?

What’s an XY Graph?

An XY Graph, which is also called a line graph, is a type of chart that documents the change of information over a period of time. It is referred to as a line graph because when all of the dots from the information displayed are connected, it forms a line.

It is called the XY graph because it is made up of the x-axis which is horizontal and the y axis which is vertical. The x-axis usually shows the passage of time while the y-axis is the quantity that is measured over the period.

We will use a scenario to further explain so that you can understand whether the line graph is suitable for your information display. Let us say that we would like to know how many apples are picked in an orchard over the course of one year. We would plug in the values of how many apples are picked each month.

The months would be on the x-axis, and the number of apples we collected each month would be on the Y-axis. Information from XY graphs is usually used to study a trend and how the time affects the quantity or overall measurement.

Creating an XY Graph Using Google Docs

There are two ways to create your XY Graph on Google Docs. I will first show you the way that I personally find easier. Then I will show you an alternative method that will have a few extra steps but will be easier to some depending on where they are in their information-gathering stage.

If you are required to make your graphs based on information that is already documented, then the first method will be a better choice. If you are in the stage where you would like to document all your information before creating the XY Graph, or any other graph, then the second method will be best for you.

The first method is to select “Insert” from the menu bar, then scroll until you see the “Chart” option. In the drop-down, you will see an option to select the “Line” graph. As I said before, XY graphs and Line graphs are the same, so select that option.

A default graph will appear. Click on the graph to update it with information. At the top right-hand corner, you will see a link icon and a drop-down menu. From the drop-down, select “Open source”.

You will be directed to a Google Sheets page that will contain the same Line graph you had seen in Google Docs as well as a table reflecting the graph’s information. The table is what you will use to populate the graph with your information.

Continuing with our apple scenario, our table would have two columns. Your first column will list all the months. Your second column will list the number of apples that we collected for the corresponding month. For our scenario, we would delete the third document that Google Sheets would have representing their default information.

However, if you wanted to compare between two different years you could use that additional column.

Once you have populated the columns, you can go back to your Google Docs tab. There will be an option at the top right-hand corner of the graph displayed there to update it. Once you have updated it, it will reflect your information. Your XY Graph is now created.

The second method is to create your table of information beforehand and link the values into your graph on Google Docs. First, open Google Sheets. You are going to create a table with the information you need for your graph.

Next, you will select “Insert” then “Chart”. By default, Google Sheets will use your table to create a bar graph. However, you will also see a dialogue box open on the right.

At the top of the dialogue box, you will see a drop-down menu that will give you the option to select “Line Chart”. Once you have selected it, you will see your information immediately turn into an XY graph. Be sure to name your Google Sheet document.

Next, you will head back to the Google Docs page in which you will be making your graph. First, you will select “Insert” from the menu bar then scroll until you see “Chart.” When the drop-down menu appears, instead of selecting “Line” you will select “From Sheets”.

A dialogue box will pop up where you will choose which Google Sheet document you would like to use for your graph. Click the Google Sheet that you had named previously.

Your Line chart will open. You can decide whether you would like to link to the spreadsheet by checking or unchecking the box at the bottom right.

I would recommend keeping the box checked, as in the future you might need to update the information. If you keep the spreadsheet linked, whatever you add to the spreadsheet will be changed to reflect that new information in Google Docs. You will only need to click the “Update” button at the top-right of the graph.

How Do You Make a Bar Graph Using Google Docs?

What’s a Bar Graph?

Your bar graph is a representational chart used to compare a similar variable between different categories of information. The data is displayed using horizontal or vertical columns.

Say for instance the apples we picked from the orchard in the previous scenario had different colors. We can group the apples based on their colors to find out how many of each color were picked in total for the year. The colors, maybe yellow, red, and green, would be one axis of the graph and the amount per color would be on the other.

Creating a Bar Graph Using Google Docs

The methods to create the bar graph are virtually the same as when we created the Line graph. You would select “Insert” then, “Chart”, and then select “Bar” from the drop-down menu. A default bar chart will appear.

You will select the link icon on the top right-hand corner of the graph and select “Open source” from the drop-down. You will then be directed to a Google Sheets tab where you can manipulate the table in it to reflect your desired information. Once done, you can then return to your Google Docs tab and click the “Update” icon on the top right-hand corner of the graph.

How to Edit a Bar Graph Using Google Docs?

If you would like to edit your bar graph in Google Docs, you would click on the Open source link and change the information by manipulating the data in the table in Google Sheets. For instance, if you no longer want to display the data of the color of the apples in the orchard and would like to instead document the size of the apples. You would change the title of your table that says “Color” to “Size”.

The bar graph is most useful with wide ranges of data. You categorize the sizes of each to reflect how many are 4-6 cm as opposed to how many are 7-8 cm. Once you have edited the information in the table you can go back to the tab in Google Docs where you can click the “Update” button.

Final Thoughts

Creating graphs can be as simple as the ways I’ve described above, or it can be more complex; like having your XY Graph display more than one period so that you can analyze the relationship between the differences of each. Also, your Bar graph can handle complex displays where you can even show information such as how many apples there are per size and per color. Both Google Docs and Google Sheets make configuring complex information for both graphs simpler and more reader-friendly.