Month: March 2016

Google sheets (18) – Creating charts (part 2)

This is the second part of looking at creating charts in Google Sheets. See part 1 here. The quick edit mode covers the majority of most people’s needs but Sheets offers you some more ways you can control your charts. Let’s look at some of those options. I’m going to use the same data as before, but this time I’m going to include the column headers in row 1 (Month and Sales). Select the data and headers and click on Insert chart from the toolbar. As you can see it’s automatically labelled the x and y axises with the column headers. It’s also labelled the series “Sales” and you can see that in the legend. Plus it’s given a title based on those headers. So, to save time I would certainly recommend that you include headers when first selecting your data. In the chart editor there are 3 tabs, “Recommendations”, “Chart types”, and “Customisation”. All three show a preview of your chart on the right, so you can see how your chart looks before inserting into your sheet. Recommendations There are two main areas here: Data area selected – This can be edited and added to. 6 possible charts you could use – Sheets has a guess at which ones you’ll probably want based on the data selected. Chart types In the second tab, “Chart Types”, at the top you...

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Google Sheets (17) – Creating charts (part 1)

Continuing the theme from my last post on sparklines, a chart really is worth a thousand numbers. In this post I’ll show you how quick and easy it is to create full charts. We’ll quickly look at: Creating and inserting a chart Moving a chart to its own sheet Saving & copying a chart Then we’ll look at the various options available within Quick Edit mode Graph Axis Legend Axis area Chart area Titles, etc Creating and inserting simple chart Here we have some sales figures. 1) To create a chart, first select the months and the figures. 2) On the toolbar, click the “Insert chart” icon 3) This opens the chart editor and shows you a preview of the chart it has created. For now, let’s just insert into our sheet by clicking on the blue button “Insert”. This places a chart on your sheet, and quite often right over your data, so you’ll have to move it. Just click once on a white part to select it, then click and hold to drag it to a new position on the sheet. As you can see, it’s added the months on the x axis for you and it’s worked out quite a good y axis scale for you. Moving a chart to its own sheet Sometimes it’s fine having the chart on the same sheet as your data, but there...

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Google Sheets (16) – Sparklines (mini-graphs)

We generally use data to give us information on something and to help us make more informed decisions. However, human beings aren’t very good at looking at a set of numbers and working out whether there is a trend or whether something looks unusual. This is where charts are invaluable. The old adage of a picture paints a thousand words, well it certainly paints a thousand numbers. One chart can instantaneously tell you what’s going on with the data. There are two ways to create charts in Google Sheets, one is the more traditional approach, i.e. making a big chart from the data and either putting it on your sheet or as a separate sheet  (I will cover how to do this in a future post) or the other is inserting mini-graphs right next to your data to show what’s going on. These mini-graphs are called sparklines and that’s what I’m going to show you how to make in this post. Here we have the monthly sales of 5 products (A to E). The sales manager wants to know how well each product is doing. Looking at just the data we may have some ideas but charts would make analyzing it so much easier. Inserting basic sparklines (line graphs) First, let’s add a sparkline in cell B16 which will show the trend of product A’s across the year. Adding sparklines is...

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Google Sheets (15) – What’s the difference between notes & comments?

There are two key ways you can add extra information to your sheet, without affecting the format of your sheet: Notes and Comments. Sometimes people confuse these, as they both give extra information in the cells, but there is a clear difference between the two. The key difference is: Notes are simply little text boxes added to the cell which just add extra information. These are viewed by hovering over the cell. Comments are also little boxes that are added to the cell with extra information, but these are usually used to make a comment to someone requesting some kind of response. They also allow you to see who added the comment. Adding notes I use these to remind me of extra information related to that cell. Let’s look at an example. Here I have a teacher’s timetable and I want to remind myself of some information about her classes, for example, when they will finish. 1) Right-click on the cell you want to add the note in, and select “Insert note”. 2) A text box will appear. Type in the note you want, then click away from the box to add it.    3) As you can see a little black triangle in the top right-hand corner is now visible. This shows you that there is a note in that cell. To view the note, just hover over...

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Google Sheets (14) – Merging cells

Cells on the spreadsheet can be combined together by what’s called “merging”. This helps your information be understood more easily. Here I have some products and I wanted to work out the profitability of them. The cells in yellow are related to income and the ones in blue are costs. As you can see, the income and costs titles don’t look very good the way they are at the moment, and I want to use them as headers for the information below, to show that they are connected. Merge all 1) Let’s start with the income. Select the cells you want to merge. 2) From the toolbar, click on the merge icon (2 arrows facing each other). 3) This combines the 3 cells together making it one cell. 4) Usually I add a bit more formatting, for example, add a border and centre the word. Use the shortcuts from the toolbar.    As you can see, I now have a header for the three areas of income. Then I follow the same process for the costs. I’ve also filled in the income and costs cells in the same colour as the cells below them. Now the table looks much better. Merge vertically and horizontally Now I want to add a bit more information to my table, to help explain it a little better. Under sales and price, I want to...

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