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

This is an update of a Knight Tutorial.

Go to Google Drive1

Note the Create  and Upload buttons. All of your docs will be listed on the right.


Click on the create and select Spreadsheet. A new window should open. 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 is chart from old Google.)


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


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

It will recommend charts for your data and offer other options for different kinds of data.  Customize  title, type and colors with third tab.  Hit insert and it will show up on your spread sheet. Click the menu on the upper right corner and choose “Publish chart.”  (You also have the option to copy or save chart as an image here.)


Select  “Image” as the format and copy the code on to a blog post.




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