When you have three numeric variables in your dataset and you want to create a chart to display this data, a bubble chart might be the perfect chart type for this.
Most standard chart types are designed for data with two variables, however, bubble charts are specifically used to show the relationship among three variables.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a bubble chart in Google Sheets.
Table of Contents
What is a Bubble Chart?
A bubble chart is a type of scatter plot where the data points are bubbles instead of dots. Bubble charts are used to show relationships between three numeric variables.
In a bubble chart, each data point is represented by a bubble, and the size of the bubble represents a dimension of the data.
The three variables in a bubble chart are represented by the:
- Horizontal position (X-Axis)
- Vertical position (Y-Axis)
- Bubble size
Each of these three elements of your chart allows you to compare the relationship among variables.
Here is an example of a basic bubble chart:
How to Make a Bubble Chart
To create a bubble chart in Google Sheets, first, you will need your data entered into your spreadsheet.
I will be creating a bubble chart with this example data:
In this example, I have three variables for various products. I have the sale price, sales revenue, and percentage of sales.
I will use this data to create my bubble chart.
Here are the steps to do this:
1. First, highlight the data that will be used to create your chart
2. In the toolbar select the Insert chart button or select Insert>Chart through the top menu
3. In the Chart editor on the right side of your screen, set the Chart type to Bubble chart. You will find this option under the scatter chart section
4. You should now see the beginnings of the bubble chart in your spreadsheet, however, your third variable may not be displaying properly until you change the settings. Navigate down to the size area and select Add Size
5. Select your third variable from your list of options
6. You will now have created a bubble chart, and you should see that the size of the bubbles have all changed to reflect your third variable
Customizing Your Bubble Chart
You can edit various options on your chart through the Chart editor.
There are two tabs that allow you to customize your chart:
Through each of these options, you will find different settings that can change the layout and appearance of your chart.
Through the Setup tab you can change:
- Data range
- Axis data
- Bubble size data
Through the customize tab you can edit:
- Chart style
- Bubble style
- Legend position and fonts
- Horizontal and vertical axis setup
- Gridlines and ticks
If you want to edit your chart navigate to the section that controls what you want to customize and through there you will find all of the different options.
Bubble charts are a great way to create a visual representation of data when you have three variables that you want to display.
The key to making a bubble chart is making sure that you set your bubble size setting to the third variable, otherwise all of the bubbles will be the same size and you won’t be able to view that information in your graph.