How to make a chart in Google Docs

Google Docs logo on a white background

Use the Insert > Chart menu in Google Docs to insert a chart. You can choose different chart types: bar, column, line, and pie. The chart is displayed with sample data, and you can edit the chart’s data in the associated Google spreadsheet.

If you want a chart in your report, proposal, or research paper, you can create one directly in Google Docs. You don’t have to worry about creating and embedding it elsewhere. Simply insert your chart and add your data.

When you create a chart in Google Docs, you are directed to a Google spreadsheet to replace the sample data with your own. You can then customize the chart to the look and feel you want. Return to Google Docs and your diagram is ready to update.

Insert a chart in Google Docs

Visit Google Docslog in and open an existing or new document.

RELATED: How to make a bar chart in Google Sheets

Go to the Insert tab and move your cursor to ‘Graph’. You can then choose to add a bar chart, column chart, line chart, or pie chart. Note that you can also add a chart that you have already created in Google Sheets.

Chart types in the Google Docs Insert menu

The chart you select then appears in your sample data document. At the bottom left of Google Docs, you’ll see a short message with a link to edit the chart in Google Sheets. To do this, click on “Edit in Sheets”.

Link Edit in Sheets in Google Docs

If the message disappears before you can click the link, select the arrow in the top right corner of the chart and choose Open Source.

Open Source in the Google Docs chart menu

Edit and add the chart data in Google Sheets

When the linked spreadsheet opens in Google Sheets, you’ll see the data and chart. You can then replace the sample chart data in the sheet with your own data. The chart will then be updated automatically.

Data and charts in Google Sheets

You can work with the data and the chart in Google Sheets as if you created it there initially. For example, you want to add another series to a bar chart or more pieces to a pie chart.

RELATED: Create a chart in Google Sheets

Use the area in the spreadsheet to edit and add data. To include new columns or rows in the chart, double-click the chart or select the three-dot menu in the top right corner and choose “Edit Chart.”

Edit map in the map menu

When the Chart Editor sidebar opens, go to the Settings tab. You can customize the cells in the Data Range field. Then use the Series section to include the additional series in your chart.

Range and Range Sections in the Chart Editor

Customize the chart elements and appearance

You may want to change the colors of the chart, add a title, or display gridlines. Open the Chart Editor sidebar and select the Customize tab.

Customize tab in the Chart Editor

You can then expand each of the sections to customize your chart. Use the Chart Style area to adjust the colors, the Chart and Axis Titles section to change the title and font, and the Gridlines and Character section to change those items.

Chart title settings in the Chart Editor

Your changes are automatically saved like any other Google app doc.

Update the chart in Google Docs

When you’re done updating your chart in Google Sheets, return to your Google Docs document. At the top right of the chart you will see an Update button.

Update button on a chart in Google Docs

Click Update to reflect the changes you’ve made to the chart in Google Sheets.

Updated diagram in Google Docs

In the future, you can make additional updates to your diagram as needed. Select the arrow in the top right corner of the chart and choose ‘Open Source’. Make your changes in Google Sheets as you did initially, return to Google Docs and click “Update” on the chart.

RELATED: Automatically generate charts in Google Sheets

Inserting a chart into Google Docs is a great way to visualize the data you’re explaining. For more information, see how to add flowcharts and diagrams or how to embed a Google Forms response chart in Google Docs.

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