Making data visualizations can help you understand your data better.
Luckily, in Google Sheets, there are built-in tools to allow you to create charts and graphs. This will help you create visualizations to better understand trends and relationships in your data.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a histogram in Google Sheets.
Table of Contents
What is a Histogram?
A histogram is a kind of graph or chart that sorts data into “buckets” of similar data that shows you how a variable is distrubted.
It sorts data into intervals and shows how much data is in between each interval.
It looks somewhat like a bar chart, except it groups numbers into ranges.
The height of the histogram, or y-axis, shows how much data falls into each range.
How to Make a Histogram in Google Sheets
To show you how to make a histogram, I am going to walk you through the steps using this example data:
This dataset contains class grades of 20 students. I am going to create a histogram with the data in Google Sheets to show how the scores are distributed.
Here are the steps to make a histogram in Google Sheets:
1. The first step is to highlight the entire data range that you want in the histogram.
2. Next in the top menu select Insert
3. In the drop-down menu, select Chart
4. Google Sheets will usually automatically choose the chart type that they think will match your data best. If it’s not already set to Histogram chart by default, go into the chart type option and select Histogram chart.
5. You should now have a histogram chart created in your spreadsheet which will show you the distribution of your data.
Sometimes you may not like the default setting in Google Sheets for the way that your histogram displays. If you want to learn how to customize it, read the section below.
Customizing the Histogram
Customize Tab in Chart Editor
In Google Sheets, there are a couple of ways to open the customize tab inside the chart editor. If your chart editor is already open, you simply enter the editor by selecting Customize in the top
Sometimes the chart editor will not be open so you have to open it manually. To do this:
- Click on your histogram
- Click on the three-dot menu in the top right corner
- Select Edit chart
This will now open the chart editor and you can select Customize to begin editing your histogram settings.
The first option you will see under the customize tab is the chart style settings. Under this option, you will be able to change the background color, chart color, and font of your histogram.
Under the histogram option, you have access to some powerful settings for customizing your chart.
- Show item dividers – this is a checkbox that will add a line between each data point in your chart. This can be useful for visualizing your data better
- Bucket size – by default Google Sheets will automatically determine what they think is the best bucket size but you can control this by changing the number displayed here
- Outlier percentage – by changing this option you can set outliers to group together with the closest bucket size
Watch how the histogram changes when I show item dividers and change the bucket size in the example below
Chart & Axis Titles
Within this option, you will find places to add both the chart title and axis titles. You can also create a subtitle. You can change the wording as well as the fonts and colors of your titles here as well.
Within the series option, you will find settings to change the colors of your bars/bins in your histogram. You can also change the line color with these settings.
The legend option will let you customize the settings and formatting of your histogram legend.
You can change the position of the legend, font size, and font format.
Horizontal and Vertical Axis
In the horizontal and vertical axis settings, you will options to change the range of your histogram, as well as customize the font and formats of the x and y-axis.
If you want to edit the values that are displayed in your histogram you can edit the min and max values to only display data that falls within a certain range
Gridlines and ticks
Lastly, you will find options to customize the gridlines and ticks in your histogram.
In this option, you can change the gridlines colors and add additional ticks that might make your data easier to read
Data visualizations like histograms can be a powerful tool for understanding data. With Google Sheets, it’s very easy to create and customize a histogram for your data.
Now that you have gone through this tutorial, try creating one with your own set of data and play with all of the different customization options so you can get a feel for what each setting does.