How to Create and Build Charts and Graphs in Google Docs

Charts and graphs are a great way to visualize data and statistics in your Google Docs documents. With just a few clicks, you can create a variety of charts that will help readers understand trends, make comparisons, and draw conclusions from your data.

Why Use Charts and Graphs

Here are some of the key benefits of using charts and graphs in your Google Docs documents:

  • Simplify complex data: Charts allow you to present statistics and trends in a format that is easier for readers to digest and interpret. Rather than pouring through rows of numbers, readers can quickly glean insights from a well-designed chart.
  • Highlight key information: Charts draw attention to important trends, outliers, or patterns in your data. An effective chart distills numbers down to their most essential takeaways.
  • Enhance visual appeal: Well-designed charts and graphs make your documents more visually engaging and interesting to read. The visual components break up dense blocks of text.
  • Reinforce key messages: Charts help emphasize and reinforce the key messages you want readers to take away. The combination of text and visuals creates a more memorable and impactful document.

Types of Charts Available in Google Docs

Google Docs supports a wide variety of chart types to meet different data visualization needs:

  • Column charts: Useful for comparing different values across categories. Columns can be arranged horizontally or vertically.
  • Bar charts: Similar to column charts and good for comparisons across categories. Bars can also be horizontal or vertical.
  • Line charts: Ideal for visualizing trends over time. Lines clearly show increases, decreases, and anomalies.
  • Pie charts: Display parts of a whole to highlight percentages, proportions, or distributions.
  • Scatter plots: Plot data points to assess the relationship between two variables. Trendlines can be added.
  • Area charts: Emphasize quantity as well as change over time. The area under the line is filled with color.
  • Combo charts: Allow different chart types to be combined into one visual. For example, columns and lines.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to insert, edit, and customize charts and graphs in Google Docs:

Insert a New Chart

  1. Click within your document where you want the chart to be positioned.
  2. Select Insert > Chart from the top menu.
  3. Choose the chart type you want to use from the drop-down menu.
  4. Google Sheets will open with your chart inserted. Customize the data range and other settings here.
  5. When finished editing, close Sheets and your chart will be inserted into the Doc.

Edit an Existing Chart

  1. Double click on the chart you want to edit. This will open the linked Sheets spreadsheet.
  2. Make any data or design changes to the chart in Sheets.
  3. Close Sheets when finished editing. Changes update automatically in the Doc.

Change the Chart Type

  1. Click on the chart and open the linked Sheets spreadsheet.
  2. Select the tab labeled Chart type in the chart editor sidebar.
  3. Choose a new chart type from the available options.
  4. Close Sheets to apply changes to the chart in your Doc.

Customize Colors, Labels, and More

The chart editor sidebar in Sheets provides advanced customization options:

  • Change chart and axis titles
  • Adjust label positions
  • Alter data ranges
  • Apply color palettes
  • Switch row/column orientation
  • Add trendlines for scatter plots
  • And more!

Explore all the customizations to tailor charts to your specific needs.

Best Practices for Charts and Graphs

Keep these best practices in mind when creating charts for your Google Docs content:

  • Highlight key data – Avoid cluttering your charts. Include only essential data to illustrate key points.
  • Use appropriate chart types – Select the chart that best represents your data type and relationships.
  • Simplify design – Use minimal chart elements. Avoid over-designing with excessive colors, textures, dimensions.
  • Make accessible – Use color palettes safe for colorblind readers. Include descriptive alt text.
  • Link charts to data – Keep your Sheets data source linked to allow automatic updates.
  • Explain charts in text – Surround charts with explanatory paragraphs to guide interpretation.
  • Position intentionally – Place charts near relevant text passages to reinforce relationships.

Integrating With Other G Suite Apps

The connected nature of G Suite allows you to reuse charts and graphs across multiple documents and apps:

  • Google Slides – Copy a linked chart from Docs and paste it into a presentation slide. It will continue pulling data from Sheets. When the original data updates, changes propagate everywhere charts are used.
  • Google Sites – Insert linked charts into website pages to display key metrics. Charts stay dynamically connected to the live data.
  • Google Data Studio – Import existing Sheets data into reports. Or, embed Data Studio visualizations directly into Docs with a linked iframe.

This powerful integration enables robust data reporting and analytics without leaving your Doc.

Take Advantage of Google Charts

With an array of customizable chart types that integrate across G Suite, Google Docs contains everything you need to take your data visualizations to the next level. Transform boring tables of statistics into compelling charts that tell a story and provide actionable insights for your readers.