Line charts are one of the most common yet powerful visualization tools used to display trends over time or compare multiple data sets. With Google Sheets' robust graphing capabilities, you can create beautiful, customizable line graphs that effectively communicate insights from your spreadsheet data.
In this detailed guide, you'll learn step-by-step methods for constructing basic to advanced line charts in Google Sheets, complete with plenty of examples and best practices for data visualization. Follow along to become an expert in visualizing time-series statistics and crafting interactive line graphs that bring your data to life.
Now let's build line charts in Google Sheets!
The starting point for any impactful line graph is the underlying data set. So first, you need to select the right dataset and format it properly before inserting your initial line chart in Google Sheets.
The first step is choosing your data range - this provides the foundation for your line chart. Here are some tips for picking the right dataset:
Creating a line chart from your prepared dataset is simple:
And you have an instant line graph generated from the spreadsheet data!
Now let's customize this to perfection.
The built-in Chart Editor provides exceptional control over chart formatting and design in Google Sheets when you create line graphs.
Access the editor by clicking the three dots icon for the chart or double click on it. Common tweaks include:
And hundreds more styling combinations are possible!
For example, here we added the R2, decreased line opacity, and added a bit of styling to the font and colors. As you can see, it's easy to give personality to a line chart:
Another common application is adding multiple lines to compare trends across items, like revenue streams. This is done by extending your data and assigning additional columns as series.
For this example, we generated a dataset with revenue stream for 3 products, A, B, and C.
The true power comes from customizing each line independently to showcase the data effectively.
Using the Chart Editor, click a series line, then tailor properties like:
This multi-line chart visualizes showcases the revenue by product:
The crucial line chart elements are:
You can take the visualization farther by adding trendlines, data point labels, reference lines, and other handy chart elements available in Google Sheets.
Don't stop at trendlines and labels. Google Sheets enables extensively formatting your line chart's visual styling.
Explore options like:
Fine-tune the appearance until your line graph effectively conveys trends in an instant through its beauty and clarity.
Follow these key principles for creating effective, attractive line charts that clearly communicate trends:
Ask if straight lines effectively represent your message. Consider column or bar charts for part-to-whole comparisons instead. Or pie charts to depict composition.
We have a whole guide on Google Sheets Data Visualization.
Use sufficiently thick lines, limited colors, strong visual contrast between elements. Avoid crowded plots or intricate details. Optimize for clarity.
Emphasize important plot points with data labels, reference lines, annotated text boxes. Guide the viewer.
Avoid broken axes, sparse data markers, or gridlines that overpower trends. Show complete pictures without distortions.
Building stunning yet accurate line charts takes both science and art. Leverage these tips to find the right balance for impactful data storytelling.
It's 2024, and if you want to supercharge your data storytelling and analytics you should consider AI solutions. Some integrate with Sheets itself, like GPT for Sheets, while others empower you to do more in a dedicated AI data platform.
One such solution is Akkio, where agencies create end-to-end workflows to uncover hidden gems in large datasets, report to clients in a white label environment, and predict future success of marketing campaigns starting from a plethora of integrations.
And with that, you should have a firm grasp on constructing stunning line charts in Google Sheets!
When visualizing data, it's essential to choose the right type of chart. Line graphs are excellent for highlighting trends by connecting data points, while bar or column charts are more suited for comparing different categories.
To enhance the impact of your charts, consider customizing various elements such as separate lines, axes ranges, data labels, icons, and colors.
As a final sidenote, we host a free Google Sheets Formula Generator if you ever need help coming up with complex formulas while cleaning up your data for a line chart.
Have fun applying your newfound knowledge!