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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Creating and using charts seems so fundamental but I often see them poorly used. I thought it was time for me to take a closer look at the creation of bar charts with Google Sheets. The tools to develop charts have recently undergone some changes. The changes facilitate the development of charts. In this issue, I explore some of the fundamentals. Part of the exploration includes various ways we publish charts in documents, slides, and the Internet.

Errata I try to double check everything I write and verify the information to the best of my ability. There are times when I make mistakes or forget something. In the April 1, 2019 issue related to Google Forms, I indicated there was no way to turn on the required option for all questions. After the publication, I was creating a form and happened on the Preferences for the form. In Preferences, there is an option to enable the required option for all questions. The setting is available by clicking the three dots, action menu and selecting the Preferences option.

Alex Reyes

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets

Table of Contents Introduction........................................... 4

Charts and Text..................................... 24

Bar Graphs............................................. 5

Charts and Google Slides...................... 25

Multiple Groups..................................... 10

Publish Docs online............................... 26

Stacked Charts.................................... 16

Publishing Slide Online.......................... 27

Horizontal Bar Charts.......................... 19

Publish from Sheets............................... 27

Publishing Charts................................. 22

Publishing with Google Sites................. 28

Insert into Google Docs........................ 22

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets

Introduction Bar Graphs represent data as a series of bars. They are often presented to students in formative assessments. Teachers rarely take the time to create graphs from data for assessments or lessons. I didn’t use them at first either. Creating graphs is time-consuming. I needed to do something because my students often missed easy problems when it came to questions from a graph or table. I was often surprised because we covered them during practice for the larger state assessments. It wasn’t until they started to develop their own that they began to make the crucial connections. To be honest I wasn’t thinking of increasing their test scores with the development of graphs from data. I ran out of paper and ink one day and needed an alternative way for them to analyze information from a science experiment. I started with ordinary computer paper and a ruler. I walked them through the process of creating a bar graph. It took most of the class period. I didn’t think much of it apart from a simple exercise with students. The second time around it was easier for them to create a bar chart because they understood the fundamentals. I think they liked coloring in the chart after the exercise. I continued to create charts with students from bar graphs to line graphs. I also tackled circle charts when they understood percentages. It provided a great opportunity to reinforce the concept of percentage in a graphic format. The year came and went. The state assessment came and went too. That summer I was given the class results for the state assessment. My class scored a little better than last year in math. It wasn’t until we took a closer look at the scores the following year. It was part of what we did as a national Blue Ribbon school. I noticed that most students answered every question dealing with charts correct. I was no dummy I thought this was something attributable to randomness or the specific class for that year. Each year’s class is different. No two are exactly alike. It was the class, not me! I proceeded to continue to manually create charts with students. I thought might prove to help them do better on assessments. I wanted to see the evidence for myself during the year. I developed a series of formative and summative assessments that included graphs and tables. I threw some of the hardest questions I could at them and they sailed through them with ease. Came the next state assessment and I received the same pattern of success. Their scores were perfect when it came to questions dealing with table and chart information. Cool, I kept doing it every year and their test scores were always excellent. The key lay in their understanding of how charts were created. They were able to make connections to the numbers that were represented in the graphics. They learned how data was collected and how it was represented by tables and charts. Their understanding of how circle charts are developed lean to another unintended result. Their scores on questions related to percentages went up too. They understood how percentages related to the whole. They understood how percentages were derived from totaling and dividing to form the circle graph.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets

Bar Graphs Bar graphs are used to compare groups of information. Bar graphs compare groups of data at one point in time or across time. They are very good at comparing data that spans long intervals of time. These intervals are usually months or years. Our first graph compares the number of teachers in each grade level. These graphs will be a snapshot in one survey to be used for comparison in future survey results.

Create a new Google Sheet. There are a couple of ways to do this. One way is to click the Apps launcher and select Sheets. Another way is to open Google drive at drive.google.com and click the New button. Select Google Sheets from the list of available applications.

The data for this chart is shared with you on my website. The link is at the bottom of the blog post for this issue. There are several links to this issue. Click on a link to make a copy and follow along. You can skip over the next few instructions if you are using the link to the copied data.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Another way is to go to the Sheets portal. The portal is at https://sheets.google.com. Click the create blank sheet button in the portal. One more way is to type https://sheets.google.com/ create in the address bar.

If you are using the link to the example data then you will be presented with a copy option. Click Make a copy to save a copy to your Google Drive account.

To create a chart we need to select data for the chart. The selection should include headings. The headings for our data include Grades and Teachers. Click and drag to select the eight cells.

There are a couple of ways to access the chart tools. We can click Insert in the menu and select Chart. I prefer to use the chart tool button in the button bar.

Our first graph doesn’t have much in the way of data. The point here is to understand the fundamentals and then apply them to other graphs later.

Google Sheets Charts will try to guess the type of graph you want to create with the data. The data we selected has one column of numbers. One column of numbers usually represents a circle graph. This is why we have a circle graph representing our data.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets A circle graph is not the same as a bar graph. Circle graphs are used to represent the values from one group as a whole. Circle graphs are not typically used for multiple groups.

The Chart Editor panel opens on the right side of the sheet. The chart type selected is shown as a Pie chart. Click the Chart type selector.

We’ll take it from here and put our own spin on the graph.

Click once on the chart. Hash lines appear in the title area. They also appear in the axis sections. These hash lines mean we can edit the information. I will use the words chart and graph to represent the same concept. Some people prefer to use the word chart and others prefer the word graph. I hope this isn’t confusing.

Google Sheets will take a second look at your data and recommend a bar chart. Click the column chart option. Click the chart title. The hash lines will disappear and the title will be highlighted. Change the title to read Teachers per Grade Level.

The graph is a better representation of our data. The bar graph is very nice. Google Sheets has done a lot of work for us. It has created a colorful graph with a title and labels.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets The panel on the right changes based on what we have selected. The available options are displayed to help format the title text.

There is a title to the left of the chart and below the chart. These are referred to as the x and y-axis labels. Click Teachers on the y-axis. Google refers to the x and y-axis as vertical and horizontal. I use the terms x-axis and y-axis in class to reinforce math concepts.

All the options are selected for us. Change any of them by clicking the selector.

The formatting panel updates so we have the tools needed to format the title.

Click the Title format alignment option and choose center-align.

Click on the Title font size selector. Change the font size to 18 points. Fonts are measured in points.

Click the Bold button.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Click the color selector and choose dark green 1.

Change the bar color using the color picker. I chose a dark purple color for mine. Choose the color you prefer.

Repeat the process for the title at the bottom. All the bar colors change to match. All the bar colors are the same because they are part of the same group.

Click once on the bar graph itself. Resize handles should appear around the graph.

In the same series panel, we have an option to display the data labels. Place a checkmark on this option.

Click on the bar for Preschool. It will turn a darker shade when selected.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets The values for each bar appear near the top of each.

Multiple Groups Bar graphs are great when working with multiple groups of data. They are helpful when looking for patterns. In this lesson, we will expand our data to include more groups. Including more groups provides opportunities to look at data from different perspectives. The next tab in the sample worksheet includes data from multiple campuses.

Change the font size to 16 points and change the font decoration to bold.

Select the headings and data then click the Insert chart button.

Scroll to the top of the chart editor and select Chart style.

Place a checkmark on the 3D option. This gives our chart a nice 3D look.

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This bar chart includes more information. This chart includes a legend. The legend in this chart runs across the top. The data in the chart is grouped by campus. The bars for the data appear in the order that came from the table.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Google tried to help format the titles but they need some work. The horizontal title is missing and we need to change the title from Grades to something else. Change the title from Grades to Campus. Go to the Chart editor panel and change the font size to 16 points.

Change the font size to 16 points.

Change the title to “Teachers by Campus� and change the font size to 16 points. Change the text alignment to center align.

Click on the axis and titles selector. Choose the Vertical Axis title.

Showing the values on each bar would be helpful. Go to the Series section.

The vertical axis title is empty. Click once in the title field and type Teachers.

Scroll down a little and place a checkmark on the Data labels option.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets The data labels work well with all the values except Preschool. Only one campus has preschool teachers. It throws off the values for the other campuses.

Changing the font color to white forces the color to change across all campuses. The value of zero is still there but we can’t see it because it matches the background color.

We can format each data series. Click on the series selector.

Data can be viewed from different perspectives. The data in our current graph is displaying values for each campus. We can also modify the view so we are looking at the values for each grade level. Switch to the Setup section in the Chart editor.

Select the Preschool series.

Scroll down and remove the checkmark from switch rows or columns.

Go to the text color option. Change the value from Auto to white.

The values are now grouped by grade levels. Switching the data grouping changed the formatting. Switching between data groupings causes this issue.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets The better option is to create two separate charts of the same data. Place a checkmark back on the switch rows or columns box.

Click once on the chart and click the actions menu. Select Copy chart. The chart is placed in the computer’s memory. Click Edit in the menu and select Paste.

This takes us back to the version that needs formatting.

There are some bars without values. Let’s take care of them first. Go to the series section in the customize panel.

Place a checkmark in the Data labels box. The copy is placed above the original. Click once on the pasted copy and go to the setup section. Change the switch row or columns box.

We need to fix the values in Preschool. We can fix this in one of two ways. Let’s take a look at the easiest way first.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Click the Text color selector and choose white.

This works well when the bars are bright colors and the background is white. There is another option that allows us to target our customization. Place the text color back to Auto.

Select a campus and the preschool that has a zero value.

Click the OK button.

Select white from the data points color option. Find the Format data point option and click the Add button.

Click the Add button again. Choose the next campus that has zero for the Preschool value. Change the data point color to white. A data point selector dialogue opens.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets This option includes several steps but it does offer more flexibility.

Change the title of the slide to Teachers by Grade Level.

This sheet has two charts. To see them fully we need to slide them around the page. This is difficult if your screen is small like on a laptop. Data like this is often meant to be published and shared with others. We will take a look at sharing this data and the charts in the last lesson. This is a good time to use the charts to compare and contrast the informaiton provided in the charts. Have discussions with students that explore how the representation of data changes your perspective of the information.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets

Stacked Charts The charts we have created up to this point include regular bar graphs. There is another form that displays the information in a compact form. This form works best when there is a lot of data that needs to be presented in limited space. Think of stacked charts like regular bar charts. The bars in the stacked chart are very close together and stacked one atop the other. Go to the next sheet in the sample template. The sheet is titled Stacked. Select the data in the sheet and create a chart. There is more data on this sheet. Google should try to generate a stacked bar chart for you.

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Go to the Chart type selector and choose Stacked column chart if Google Sheets doesn’t generate a stacked chart.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Go to the Customize section and open the Series section.

Deselect the data labels option. Select the Average series from the series selector.

Select the Data labels option.

Place a checkmark to display data labels. The data labels for this series are the only ones displayed.

The data labels in our stacked chart can appear misleading. The one for the first value at the bottom appears within the second value area. The values for the Beginner response are so small we can ignore them. There is more valuable in displaying the values for average and advanced.

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Choose the Advanced series selector and select data labels. The values for Average and Advanced are displayed in the center of each data section.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Change the graph title to Teacher Technology Skill Survey. Add the vertical axis label and title it Skill Level. Change the Grade horizontal axis title to Campus. Change the axis titles to 16 point font.

The values for Beginner are still there. Anyone looking at the published graph will be able to hover over the beginner portion of the chart and view the data. I will demonstrate how this works in the publishing lesson. In the chart we chose to hide values from those that responsed as beginners. Discuss with students why we chose to hide the information and why we might have chosen to display the information. Under what circumstances would the information for beginners be important?

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets

Horizontal Bar Charts Horizontal bar charts are like regular bar charts. Horizontal bar charts are best for charts that have lengthy titles. Go to the next sheet in the sample spreadsheet. The sheet is titled Horizontal. Select the data in the sheet and create a chart. There is a lot of data in this chart and the titles are lengthy. Google Sheets tries to fit the titles along the bottom. Part of each title is cut off. It would be great to fit the complete titles next to each chart. To do this we need to change the chart type.

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Go to the setup section of the Chart editor and select the horizontal bar chart. Make sure you select the Horizontal stacked bar chart.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets The titles are easier to read but most of the titles are still truncated.

Accommodating the titles comes at the expense of the bar’s length.

Click on the titles section until a border appears around the titles.

We need to make more room for the graph. Click and resize the chart enclosing box. Drag the right side resize handle to the right.

Move the mouse pointer along the divider between the titles and the bars. Look for a resize handle.

Click the center resize handle and drag the titles back toward the left.

Move the resize handle to the right until the titles appear without any truncation.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Change the title to “Technology Goals When Using Online Instruction”. Change the title for the vertical axis to Goals. Don’t add a horizontal axis. Display the data values and change the font size to 10 points.

The chart updates automatically and excludes data from Other.

The values for other are mixed together and too insignificant to publish. We could add formatting data points for each campus but that would still present a white blob of text for the values. The best choice here is to omit the inclusion of Other data.

Click on Setup in the Chart editor. The chart is displaying data from cells A2 to E16. We don’t need the information for cell E16. Change the value to E15.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets

Publishing Charts Google documents are publishable in a variety of formats. The same holds true for our spreadsheets and the charts from those spreadsheets. The method used for publishing these documents depends on the audience. It also depends on your needs. Published charts retain their connection to the original data. This means we don’t have to republish a chart if the data changes or if we choose to reformat the existing chart. The live connection to data has important applications when collecting data and with Google Forms. The charts themselves can be published on their own or as part of a larger organization of information. We will explore the publication of these charts in Google Documents, Slides, and Sites.

Insert into Google Docs The publication of our document in a Google Document or Slide is useful. Charts are often part of a detailed report. Open another tab in your browser and create a new Google document. To create a new Google Document go to Google Drive, https://drive.google.com or create a new document by typing https://docs.google.com/ create. Click Insert and go to the Chart option. There are options to insert a new bar, column, line or pie chart. We want to insert an existing chart from a Sheet.

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A file selection panel will open and the most recent spreadsheet documents will be presented. The sheet I have been working on is titled Bar Chart Data. Click on the Sheet and then the select button.

A selection panel will open with a thumbnail preview of the charts we created in all the Sheets. Click once on the first chart.

Before importing the chart I need to touch on an important component of inserting a chart. Above the import button is an option that links to the spreadsheet. Retaining the link means that any changes made to the original in the sheet are automatically updated in the chart we insert into our document.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Leave the option selected and click the Import button.

Clicking the Open source option will open the sheet in a separate tab. Click this option.

Click on the chart. Resize handles appear around the chart. The chart fills the document from the left to right margin. Use the handles to make the chart smaller if needed.

Changed the bar chart color.

Once the chart is in our document there is an option to get back to the original sheet. That option is available in the upper right corner of the chart. It is visible when the chart is selected. Click the link icon.

Return to the tab with our document. The chart bar color is still purple in my example. Click the Update button above the chart to update it with our changes.

We are presented with options to unlink the chart from the spreadsheet or to open the spreadsheet source.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets

Charts and Text Charts in a document don’t usually sit there on their own. In this example, I have a document with text and the same chart. There is a link to this sample document on my website along with the other templates. The document has some filler text called Lorem Ipsum. Our chart is inserted after the first paragraph. The chart fills the document between our left and right margins.

Below the chart are some options for dealing with text and graphics like our chart. The options are visible when the chart is selected. There are three options. These options include in line, wrap text, and break text.

When an image is in line it is treated as text. All the spaces to the left and right of the image are dedicated to the image. In-line images are always aligned to the left margin by default. Click the Wrap text option.

The wrap text option allows text to wrap around the image. Text wraps around the image from left to right. There isn’t space to the left of the image so the text wraps over to the right of the image. Wrap text allows the image to be repositioned. Click and drag the image to the right.

All images are placed in line. This means that images follow the flow of the text. If we insert text above the image then the image is pushed down along with the rest of the text. If the text is removed from the paragraph above the image moves up with the rest of the text. The image remains in the same relative position with respect to the text. Click one of the resize corners make the image smaller.

The text wraps to the left and right. When text wraps to the left of an image we are likely to get some ragged text to the left of the image. This ragged text is difficult to read and doesn’t look very good.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Drag the image over to the right margin. A red guide appears to help align the image to the margin.

The text to the left of the image is still ragged. The best way to fix this ragged text is to change the text alignment to full.

The text along the left side of the image looks much better.

Charts and Google Slides The process for publishing charts in Google Slide is similar to that in Google Docs. Create a new blank Google Slide. This chart will be the only one on the slide. We need a different template to hold and present our graph. Click Slide in the menu and go to the Apply layout option. Select the Title only layout.

Click once on the text to the left of the image. Click the text-align button and select full justification.

Click Insert in the menu and go to the Chart option. Choose the option to insert a chart from Sheets.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets The options are identical to those we used when the chart was inserted into a Google Doc.

Center the chart on the slide. Title the slide Teacher Survey Data.

Publish Docs online

Select the option to get a shareable link.

Make sure the option for anyone to view the document with a link is selected. Click the Done button and that’s all we need to do here.

Open the Google Doc and click File in the menu.

One final step in the publishing process includes the option to publish documents or slides online. Publishing content requires that we grant permission for others to view our content. Granting permission includes all documents that are part of the publication process. We need to begin with the Google sheet that contains our charts. Return to the Sheet. Click the Share button.

Select the Publish to the web option.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Click the Publish button.

Confirm that you want to publish the document.

Copy the link for the published document and share it. The published document is live and the content is updated as we update content in the original document.

Publishing Slide Online The process for publishing a slide is almost the same. Open the Slide document or return to the tab with the slide. Click File in the menu and select Publish to the web. Google Slides will create a shareable link. There are some options specific to slide shows. There are options to set the timing for the slides. If this is our only slide, then we don’t need to worry about any of the settings. Click the Publish button. Confirm you want to publish the Slide and get the link to share.

Publish from Sheets We don’t need to go through all the trouble of inserting our chart into documents or slides if we just want to share the chart by itself. Each chart has a publish option available. Return to the Sheets document. Click on the chart then click the action menu in the chart. Click the Publish chart option.

The publish dialogue box includes two selectors. The selector on the left is used to select the graph we want to publish. The selector on the right is used to enable interactivity for the chart.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets Published charts include some basic interactivity. Leave the interactivity option set and click the Publish button.

Copy the link and paste it into a new tab. Move the mouse pointer over one of the bars. Information related to the bar appears above each. Share this link with others.

Publishing with Google Sites There is one more option for publishing graphs that I want to explore. I prefer to share charts in sites because it provides a location to display a variety of charts. In this example, I created a site for the distribution of tables and charts from a survey taken by teachers. I won’t go into the process of creating a site in this lesson but I hope to create a fundamentals site issue in the future. The link to the site with the embedded charts for these examples is available on my website. On the home page, I will scroll down the list of insertable items. The last option on the list is a Charts button.

A panel will open and list spreadsheets from my Google Drive. I will select the sheet we used to create the charts. Click the Insert button to select a chart. The Insert button is at the bottom of the panel.

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Produce and Publish Bar Charts with Google Sheets All the charts created in the Sheet are displayed.

Select the first chart and click the add button. I could choose to insert all the charts at once but the charts are not placed in the order I want.

Here are all the charts on one page.

Charts published using this method include interactivity by default. The charts are also updated as the original information is updated.

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Digital Maestro Magazine

Profile for Digital Maestro Publications

Bar Charts with Google Sheets  

In this issue I cover the creation and use of bar charts in Google Sheets. The issue covers the creation of various bar charts. It also cove...

Bar Charts with Google Sheets  

In this issue I cover the creation and use of bar charts in Google Sheets. The issue covers the creation of various bar charts. It also cove...

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