One of the exciting things we love about Google Sheets is the ton of resources and tools available for visualising data.
While it’s possible to use separate charts, including a line chart or a bar chart to visualise and understand data points, Google Sheets also allows users to combine multiple chart types. The amazing thing about combining different chart types is that it allows you to make direct comparisons between data points, identify correlations and make seamless forecasts based on available data.
In this Google Sheets tutorial, we will cover everything you need to know about combo charts in Google Sheets. After reading this guide, you should be able to create a combo chart in Google Sheets without sweating it.
But before we delve into the practical aspect of this guide, let’s start with the basics- understanding what a combo chart in Google Sheets is.
Google Sheets combo chart: What is it?
Wondering what a combo chart in Google Sheets means? Well, here is all you need to know.
A combo chart is a unique type of chart in Google Sheets that combines two or more chart types into a single display.
For instance, a combo chart could combine a scatter plot chart with a line chart or a line chart with a bar chart.
What’s exciting about a combo chart in Google Sheets is that it gives a more comprehensive picture of the data you’re working with by displaying multiple aspects of your data in a single chart. We love combo charts because it makes identifying patterns, trends, and relationships in any given data seamless.
While combo charts have many use cases, they are commonly used in finance, business and scientific research to analyze and present data. As you read on, you’ll soon find out how you can create a combo chart in Google Sheets.
But before then, let’s show you when you should use a combo chart.
When should you use a combo chart?
A combo chart is a handy tool for making reports and analyses, especially because it provides versatile means of showing data. For those new to all this, it would interest you to know that combo charts serve as the building block for analytical techniques like the Pareto analysis.
Here are some scenarios where using a combo chart may be handy:
- If you’re dealing with varying data, especially one that involves volume and price, using a combo chart wouldn’t be a bad idea.
- Using a combo chart could even things out when you need to show the relationship or trend between two or more data types.
- You can use a combo chart for better analysis if you have a data set where results vary widely across different data types.
- Do you need to identify the outliers in your data set? A combo chart will get the job done seamlessly.
- Are you interested in showing the data share instead of the actual data value in your spreadsheet? Use a combo chart to get the best result.
What are some unique elements of a combo chart?
Even though combo charts differ from one another, they share some peculiar similarities. Read on as we look closely at each of these elements.
The most important element when working with a combo chart is the data. To this end, you want to ensure you have enough data samples to work with before creating a combo chart. We always recommend using a data set with various metrics of interest to get the best result. Let us also quickly add that you’ll need to have one common data axis to plot the two graphs in one place.
To achieve your objective when creating a combo chart in Google Sheets, it’s important that one of the axes have points that can be plotted together. By plotting your combo chart appropriately, you’ll be able to visualize your data using various tools and combo chart layouts.
When creating a combo chart, you want your audience to be able to comprehend the context of your data story. That’s why we strongly recommend labeling the chart appropriately. Some of the things we recommend doing is including legend and title to your chart. This way, your audience will seamlessly understand your findings.
Another reason we recommend naming your chart is that it effectively separates it from other charts and prevents confusion when using Google Sheets dashboards.
Creating a combo chart in Google Sheets
Having given you a comprehensive overview of the combo chart, it’s time we get into the practical aspect of this guide. In this section, we will give you a comprehensive step-by-step process of creating a combo chart in Google Sheets.
Whether this is your first time creating a chart in Google Sheets or something you have done in the past, this guide will simplify the entire process, making your job easy and hassle-free.
For this Google Sheets tutorial, we will use a data set representing sales, projected sales and differences across different months.
Our objective with this combo chart is to display the sales besides the projected sales data while showing the difference using a line chart.
Here is the sample data we will be using to create a combo chart in Google Sheets:
Using the sample data above, here is how to create a combo chart in Google Sheets:
Step 1: Highlight your data
To create a combo chart in Google Sheets, you’ll need to highlight the data you intend to use. When highlighting the date, you want to highlight everything in your spreadsheet.
By everything, we mean labels and values featured across your spreadsheet. If you did everything correctly, you should have a spreadsheet that looks like this:
Step 2: Insert > Chart
With your data now highlighted, we need to insert a chart. Thankfully, this is super easy, as it only involves a few clicks. To insert your chart, simply navigate to the Insert menu and select the option for Chart.
Alternatively, you can click on the insert icon located on the sub-menu. Whatever option you decide to go with will give you the same result.
If you executed the step above exactly as we showed you, you should have a spreadsheet that now looks something like this:
From the image above, you’ll notice that Google created a column chart, which isn’t what we want to create as per this guide. So we need to change that to a combo chart, and we will show you how to do that in a bit.
Switching from column chart to combo chart
As we mentioned earlier, Google being Google automatically created a column chart for us to work with. And since the aim of this tutorial is to create a combo chart, we want to show you how to switch the column chart to a combo chart.
Step 1: Launch the chart editor
If your chart editor isn’t already launched, you need to do that right away. To launch your chart editor, simply double-click on the column chart.
Alternatively, you can click anywhere on the chart. After clicking the chart, you’ll notice three dots on the top right of the chart. Click on it and select the option for Edit chart.
After executing the step we highlighted above, you should find the Chart editor on the extreme right of your spreadsheet. Here, take a look at what our Chart editor looks like:
Step 2: Change the column chart to a combo chart
Changing the column chart to a combo chart is easy. All you need to do is navigate to the Chart editor located on the extreme right of your Spreadsheet and click on the Setup menu.
Underneath the Setup menu, you’ll find the option for Chart type, which currently has Column chart as the preferred chart type. Click on it and scroll all the way down to select the option for combo chart.
The illustration below explains this step better. Check it out:
After switching from a column chart to a combo chart, you’ll notice that the chart on your spreadsheet has now been updated to reflect your preferred option. Here is what our chart looks like after switching from a column chart to a combo chart.
Customizing the combo chart
Having managed to show you how to switch from a column chart to a combo chart, which is all today’s guide is all about, we want to now switch things up and show you how to customize your combo chart.
While we have already created our combo chart in Google Sheets, if you look closely at what we currently have, you’ll notice that the data isn’t presented the way we want it. So during this customisation process, we will tweak our combo chart to look exactly how we want it. Follow the steps below to customize your combo chart.
Step 1: Launch Chart editor
If, for some reason, you closed the Chart editor on the sidebar, you’ll need to launch it once more. To launch the chart editor, you can simply double-click anywhere on the chart.
Alternatively, you can click anywhere on the chart, which will reveal a three dots icon on the top right of the chart. Now, click on the three dots icon and select the option for “Edit chart.”
This action will launch the Chart editor to the extreme right of your spreadsheet.
Step 2: Select customize
With the Chart editor now launched to the extreme right of your spreadsheet, click on the Customize menu to reveal the numerous customisation options underneath that.
Step 2: Select Series
After clicking the Customize menu, scroll through the options and Select series. This action will reveal some more customisation options.
Step 3: Tweak the changes
With the option for Series now expanded, scroll down to find the option for “Apply to all series” and click on it. This action will open a dropdown menu, where you can now choose the series you want the changes to apply to. For this guide, we would like to change the Project Sales data from a line chart to a column graph, so we’ll go ahead and select that option.
Step 4: Format chart
After choosing the series you want to apply the changes to, navigate down to find the option for Format. Underneath that, you’ll find Type, which currently has a line chart as the default option. Click on it and change the type of graph to what you want. For our guide, we will change the line chart to a column graph.
After making all these changes, our combo chart now looks completely different. Here is what our combo chart now looks like.
What are the things you can edit on your combo chart
Now that you know how to create a combo chart in Google Sheets and customize it to what you want, we want to use this time to show you some things you can edit within your combo chart.
If you don’t currently like how your combo chart is looking, you can edit the chart styles. Here you can tweak the elements of the overall chart including border, text, background and more.
Besides the chart styles, you can also make changes to the chart and axis titles.
Overall, the Google Sheets chart editor provides you with all the resources to turn your boring chart into something interesting, so take full advantage of it to give your combo chart a striking look.
Creating a combo chart in Google Sheets can be a bit confusing, especially if you haven’t created a chart before. But guess what, in today’s guide, we gave you a comprehensive overview of creating a combo chart in Google Sheets.
From understanding the basics to giving you a detailed step-by-step process, today’s Google Sheets tutorial has everything you need to know about creating a combo chart in Google Sheets.
In addition to providing a detailed step-by-step guide, we also included pictures and GIF illustrations in our guide to simplify the entire process. In case you ever hit a brick wall, these resources will guide you on the right path.
Disclosure: This page may contain a few affiliate links, which means if you buy something through them, we may get a commission (without any extra cost to you).