how to make a bar graph in google sheets

How to Create a Bar Graph in Google Sheets: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking to present complex data in an easy-to-understand format? Look no further than bar graphs in Google Sheets. Business owners and financial analysts widely use these fundamental chart types to visualize information quickly and effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of creating bar graphs in Google Sheets, covering everything from the basics to advanced customization options.

What are Bar Graphs in Google Sheets?

A bar graph, also known as a bar chart or column graph, is a graphical representation that uses bars and numeric values to present complex data in an easy-to-understand manner. The bars are plotted on one axis (x-axis), representing different levels or categories, while the values are plotted on the other axis (y-axis). Each bar corresponds to a specific value, and the height of the bar represents the value it represents. Here’s an example of a typical bar graph in Google Sheets:

how to make a bar graph in google sheets

In this example, the bars are plotted on a common baseline, allowing for easy measurement and comparison of values. Google Sheets offers a variety of bar chart styles to visualize data, including horizontal bar graphs, vertical bar graphs, stacked bar charts, and 100% stacked bar graphs.

Why and When to Use Bar Graphs?

Bar graphs are the go-to choice for data visualization in Google Sheets for several reasons:

  1. Easy to Read and Understand: Bar graphs are widely used in textbooks, marketing reports, and research papers, making them familiar to a diverse audience. Their simplicity makes them easy to grasp, even for higher-secondary school students.

  2. Perfect for Mapping Changes Overtime: Bar graphs visualize trends over time. Unlike pie charts, which can only represent one data set, bar graphs allow you to compare performance over time. This makes them ideal for showing changes in data points or distributions.

Now that you understand the advantages of using bar graphs let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating them in Google Sheets.

Step 1: Selecting Rows and Columns

To create a bar graph in Google Sheets, select the cells you want to visualize, including the headers. These cells will determine the data range for your graph.

Step 2: Accessing the Chart Editor

Once you’ve selected the data range, click on the “Chart Icon” on the right side of your toolbar. Google Sheets automatically generates a default chart type based on your selected data range.

Step 3: Choosing the Bar Graph Type

Click the “Setup” tab in the chart editor sidebar and then the “Chart Type” dropdown menu. Select any bar graph style you prefer, such as a single bar or column chart.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your first bar graph in Google Sheets. Let’s explore the various customization options available to make your graph stand out.

Customizing Your Bar Graph

Google Sheets offers various customization options to tailor your bar graph to your needs. Here are some key customization features:

  1. Chart Type: Customize your chart’s background, font style, and border colour. You can also maximize the chart, add a 3D effect, or enable compare mode.

  2. Chart and Axis Titles: Edit or format the chart title, subtitle, and axis titles. Customize the font style, size, and colour to match your brand.

  3. Series: Change the colours of individual bars in the graph. Adjust the fill and line colours, opacity, line type, and thickness.

  4. Format Data Points: Highlight specific bars in the graph to draw attention. Choose a data point and assign a colour to make it stand out.

  5. Data Labels: Add or customize labels for each bar in the graph. Change the labels’ font type, size, and colour to enhance readability.

These are just a few of the customization options available in Google Sheets. You can customize horizontal and vertical axes, legends, gridlines, and more to create a fully personalized bar graph.

The Limitations of Google Sheets for KPI Tracking

While Google Sheets is a valuable tool for creating bar graphs and other visualizations, it has some limitations regarding KPI tracking. Here are a few drawbacks:

  1. Limited Automation: Google Sheets lacks advanced automation features, requiring manual input and editing of data. This can be time-consuming and tedious, especially for larger datasets.

  2. Complex Team Collaboration: When multiple team members are involved, Google Sheets can become messy. It’s easy for someone to tamper with the sheet or create numerous versions, leading to a lack of a single source of truth.

  3. Poor Mobile Experience: Google Sheets dashboards are not optimized for mobile viewing. Navigating through dashboards on a mobile device can be cumbersome and may unintentionally disrupt the layout.

To overcome these limitations, consider using a dedicated KPI tracking and dashboarding tool like Datapad.

Introducing Datapad: A Better Alternative for KPI Tracking

Datapad is a mobile-friendly KPI tracking and dashboarding tool that offers a seamless and efficient way to collect, analyze, and visualize crucial business metrics. Here are some key features that set Datapad apart:

  1. Instant Access: Access and edit your dashboards instantly from your mobile device, ensuring timely decision-making and avoiding the need to log in to multiple accounts.

  2. Team Collaboration: Enable in-app communication and collaboration with your team. Comment, tag members, assign tasks, and monitor real-time activities.

  3. Easy Data Import: Datapad offers one-click integration with popular data sources like Google Analytics and MySQL databases, making data import hassle-free.

  4. High-End Customizations: Customize every section of your dashboard with ease. Datapad’s user-centric interface and drag-and-drop functionality allow for granular customizations.

With Datapad, you can create mobile-friendly dashboards, collaborate seamlessly with your team, and enjoy a smooth KPI tracking experience.


Bar graphs in Google Sheets are powerful for visualizing complex data and comparing individual items. Following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can easily create and customize bar graphs to meet your needs. However, if you require advanced automation, team collaboration, and a better mobile experience, consider using a dedicated KPI tracking tool like Datapad. With Datapad, you can take your data visualization and analysis to the next level. Start creating impactful bar graphs and tracking your KPIs with ease today!

Nadeem Ahmed
Nadeem Ahmed

Company: Softa Services Private Limited

Role: CTO (Chief Technology Officer)

Expertise: Innovative Project Manager | Strategic Marketing Pro | Business Growth Specialist | Inspirational Leader

Education: Comsats University

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