How to Make a Histogram in Google Sheets

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Data visualization can be quite tasking on the brain, but using graphs and charts makes the process a lot easier. 

For useful representation and distribution of data, histograms are the way to go. Although there are other ranges of charts on Google Sheets, the most versatile is histograms. 

How to Make a Histogram in Google Sheets

However, keep in mind that while histograms and bar charts are very alike, they cannot be used interchangeably.

That said, this article will focus on creating and customizing a histogram on Google Sheets. 

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What is a Histogram?

While we are pretty sure you know what a histogram is, it won’t hurt to give a quick definition. 

A histogram is simply a graphical representation of data points into groups in a user-specified range. It’s used to check the shape of the data distribution in a convenient form.

How to Create a Histogram in Google Sheets

Histograms help show clearly the grouping of data into ranges. The height of every individual bar represents the frequency of variables within the selected data set.

With Google Sheets, creating a histogram is pretty easy, because you don’t need to worry about filling the bins. 

Here’s a step-by-step process on how to make a histogram using Google Sheets.

1. Set Up Data

Inputting the data you wish you interpret is the first step. Luckily, you just need to put them into a column, and you are good to go.


To make this tutorial easier, we’ll use the data of a group of property owners and the number of properties they own. 

2. Open Insert Menu

Ensure you highlight all the data before proceeding with this step. In our case, we have highlighted the Names of Investors and the number of properties owned. 

At the top right of your screen, you’ll see the insert menu drop in, click on it, and a list of options will appear on your screen. Here, you’ll have to select the “Chart” option, for the different types of charts to be displayed.

Check out this article on how to add days to date in Google Sheets.

Our focus is on creating a histogram, and you’ll notice that after clicking the Chart section, you’ll see the “Column Chart” by default.

3. Change to Histogram

Our focus is on creating a histogram, and you’ll notice that after clicking the Chart section, you’ll see the “Column Chart” by default.

Clicking at the downward indicator by the right of the “Column chart” will open up the options, and you’ll need to scroll down to see the “Histogram” option. 

Once you click on the Histogram, your data will be inserted into the Histogram. And voila!

4. Edit the Histogram

Mistakes are bound to happen, and even if they don’t, you might realize there are certain changes you’ll need to make to your data after creating your histogram. 

It’ll suck a great deal if you have to start the process all over, from editing the chart figures to creating the histogram.

Luckily, there’s the edit option for an already crafted histogram.

To edit a histogram you have created, click on the three dots at the top of the histogram chart, and you’ll see a list of options unfold. 

There you’ll have the “Edit the Chart” option that allows you to make changes to the data range and other chart settings. When you have successfully done this, the changes will be updated in your chart. 

Now that you have successfully created a histogram on Google Sheets, you’ll need to customize it to look professional and presentable.

How to Customise Histogram in Google Sheets 

Customizing your histogram is important to give it a different look from the traditional style; however, you can decide not to as well.

The customization option gives you the liberty to change both the background color and fonts as well.
Let’s go over how you can get creative with your histogram chart.

Changing Chart Style

In Chart style, there are three elements you are allowed to tweak;

  • Font style
  • Background color
  • Border color

To change the color of your histogram, click on the “Chart editor” and select the “Customization tab”.

Scroll down until you get to “Series” and from the options on your screen, select “fill color”

Just like the screenshot below, you’ll notice the histogram with a new color, and you can also tweak the “line color” and “line dash type”. 

To change the background color and fonts of your histogram, click on the “Chart style” and there you’ll have the option of editing background color and fonts. 

Adding Chart Title 

Putting the right chart title on your histogram is important, because how else can a third party interpret the data easily?

Well, adding a chart title isn’t a daunting task, thanks to Google Sheets. 

To add a chart title, go again to the “Customise tab” and click on “Chart & Axis Titles”, and you’ll have a list of options from the drop-down menu. 

Click on the “Chart Title” and you can input the necessary title into the “Title text” space. 

You can also change the title on the horizontal and vertical axis of the Histogram.

Customise Bins

Bins also referred to as histogram buckets can be resized in the customize tab. Go to the Customise tab and click on Histogram. 

Select the “Bucket size”; you’ll notice that it’s already set at default size, so specify the size you want. You can also add item dividers within the buckets if there’s a need to.

Legend Submenu

The “legend” in a histogram chart is the title inscribed just at the top. Not everyone likes the legend boldly displayed. Fun fact; it can be edited out of the chart.

The position is set to “auto” by default, you can play around and either move it to the bottom, left, right, or inside. And if you don’t want it in the chart, tap “none”.

From the screenshot, we set it to the “left” corner.

You can also customize the legend font, font size, format, and color to your preferred style. 

Horizontal & Vertical Axis

Yes, Google Sheets indeed helps in formatting a histogram, but how you customize your histogram is pretty important as it helps in simplifying the data context. 

What works for the horizontal axis works for the vertical as well, just keep that in mind, and we’d be focusing on the vertical axis alone. 

Set the Range

From the screenshot below, you can see the range on the vertical axis is labeled “min” and “max”. This means you can tweak how the data is broken up if you aren’t satisfied with the default grading. 

Other customizations within the horizontal and vertical axis window include;

  • Label Font
  • Label Format
  • Label Font Size
  • Text Colour

Remember, it’s not a rule to make changes to the horizontal and vertical axis, if the default setting interprets your data efficiently, then no need to put yourself through the extra work. 

Features of the Histogram in Google Sheets

You cannot fully utilize the histogram chart if you don’t know all of the features and what it represents. Let’s cover the most useful options that you’ll need for your day-to-day illustration of data representation.

Set-Up

To expand the scope of your histogram, there are certain features you need to explore;

Series

This is very important because you can use this feature in creating a “double histogram”.

If you intend on comparing data side by side, then you need to master how to use the series feature.

Fill in the extra data in your Google Sheets, and highlight it. After that, click on “series,” and select “OK”. 

Now, this is what a double histogram looks like;

Ticking the “Switch rows/columns” bar will help toggle between the row and column data representation. Look at the screenshot below;

How to Make a Double Histogram in Google Sheets

Before we start, let’s remind you that this is not a complex task. It’s very much the same pattern as the above tutorial on making a single histogram, just a little tweak. 

Check out this article about Heat Maps in Google Sheets.

1. Go to Insert

Highlight both columns and click on insert. Go to Charts, and if the default option is not “Histogram”, scroll to the bottom and select Histogram.

2. Delete X-Axis

Tap on the three dots of the tab under the x-axis menu, and select “remove”. 

3. Add Series

Click on the “Series” tab and select the first option – refer to the screenshot

4. Delete the Y-Axis Title

To delete the y-axis (vertical axis) title, click on the Customise tab. Select “Chart & Axis Title > Vertical Axis Title. Highlight the title text (score for class 2) and delete it. 

Your double histogram is complete, and you can easily compare both data side by side without any hassle.

Conclusion

Histogram is a beneficial visualization tool and one of the most powerful tools in Google Sheets for data presentation. 

With Google Sheets, it’s really easy to customize Histograms to your preference. There’s no monopoly on style, as you can tweak and play around with fonts and styles until you get your desired result. When you have mastered the art of utilizing Google Sheets, you’ll realize that nothing is ever complex. 

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