Google Sheets has a ton of built-in features for displaying all types of data in a visually appealing way.
You can easily create all kinds of useful charts and graphs to display your data. But one feature that it does not currently have is the option to create a dot plot.
But, we can still create our own dot plot with a little creativity.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a dot plot in Google Sheets.
What is a Dot Plot?
A dot plot (also called a dot chart or strip plot) is a type of chart that is commonly used in statistics to display relatively small datasets with only one variable.
A dot plot creates a visualization of data using dots. Each dot represents a value, which is useful for displaying the distribution of a dataset.
Here is an example of a dot plot:
The example dot plot is showing the number of sales per day of the week. You can see that the chart is very simple and easy to understand.
Creating a Dot Plot
Again there is not a built-in chart type of dot plot in Google Sheets, but we can still create a dot plot pretty easily.
We will be creating a dot plot using a scatter plot. But to have our data display correctly, we need to make some adjustments to our dataset.
Here is the data that I will be creating the dot plot with in this example:
But in order to create a dot plot with the data, I need it turned into an array of sequential numbers. I will be using the SEQUENCE function to do this.
Here are the steps to create a dot plot:
1. First you need to copy the headers and the first column of your data and paste them next to your original data set. In this example I have taken column A and the headers in row 1 and pasted them next to my data.
2. In your new dataset in the first row, enter the SEQUENCE function. The 1st argument of the function should be a 1, and the second argument of the function will be the range of data that you are plotting in your graph. In my example, my formula is: =SEQUENCE(1,B2:B8)
3. Copy and paste your formula all the way down your column (Column E in my example) and you should see that your data set is sequenced out in an array. This is the data we will now use to create the dot plot with
4. Highlight the data that will be used to plot the chart with
5. In the toolbar select the Insert chart button. Alternatively, you can also select Insert>Chart from the top menu
6. In the setup tab of the Chart editor, change your chart type to Scatter chart
7. To create a true dot plot we should remove the legend, so select the Customize tab and set your Legend to None
8. You should now see a dot plot created for the data that you highlighted in step 4
Even though there isn’t a built-in way to make a dot plot in Google Sheets, it is still a relatively simple process.
You just need your data displayed in an array, and then you can create a scatter chart with it and will be a dot plot.
Hopefully, by now you can see why these types of charts are useful. They are very simple and easy to understand.
It won’t make sense to use this kind of chart for all datasets, but for simple ones, they have their place.