Data Visualization 101: How to use Google Sheets make a simple pie chart

This is an update of a Knight Tutorial.

Go to Google Sheets

ss open ss

Click Blank  to create a new Spreadsheet. Note the following features:

  • The menu bar lets you select different commands to change your spreadsheet.
  • A cell is an individual square where you can double-click and type in information.
  • The cells are organized into rows (assigned numbers) and columns (assigned letters).
  • (This screenshot is from is older Google.)


Here’s what the 2017 edition looks like.



Make a pie chart

The pie chart is the most ubiquitous of charts. Here’s what it is and when to use it.

  • It is a circle divided into segments.
  •  It should illustrate the relationship of the parts of a total.
  • The data may be numeric but it is usually displayed in percentages.
  •  Never more than 5 parts. If you have more than five subsets, consider a TreeMap.

Save your spreadsheet and call it “Pie Chart.” You only have to do this once. The document will autosave as you make changes.

Fill in the data as shown below. Select cell A1 by clicking it once. Hold down the Shift key and click in Cell B4 to select the range of data

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 4.38.07 PM

Click on “Insert” in the Google Menu Bar and select “Charts.” A new window will appear

The “Chart editor” will recommend charts for your data. Under “chart type” choose pie chart. You can customize typeface, color, etc.  Hit insert and the chart will show up on your spread sheet.

Click the menu — three little dots –on the upper right corner of the chart and choose “Publish chart.”  (You also have the option to copy or save chart as an image here. )

Get link or embed code.


Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 4.55.54 PM

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 5.02.23 PM


Here’s what the pie chart looks like.


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