Histograms are one of the best ways to show data in a way that helps you see patterns and trends.
Google Sheets is a powerful tool that makes data analysis simple, and in this post, we will show you how to create a histogram in Google Sheets.
Whether you’re a student, a professional, or simply someone who wants to organize their data, this lesson will walk you through the process step by step.
Before moving toward the actual steps of creating histograms, let’s find out what they are.
Sounds interesting? Let’s start 😊
What are Histograms?
A histogram is a graphical representation that shows the frequency distribution of a small number of data points for a single variable. Histograms usually divide data into bins or range groups and count how many points are in each bin.
English mathematician Karl Pearson first introduced the idea of histograms. Since then, histograms have been crucial data representational instruments. A histogram is particularly helpful in statistical analysis because it depicts how sample data are distributed.
Exam score histogram example
The example below shows a histogram of the class exam’s score in a single subject. The graph divides the students’ scores into multiple ranges. Each bar’s height represents the number of students in that particular range.
When to use the histograms
Certain factors need to be considered while using Histograms:
- A histogram should be utilized when the data depends on one variable, such as the students’ marks or the customer’s age.
- A histogram is helpful when the sample data show a continuous range, such as student exam results. A histogram might not be appropriate when data has significant gaps in its range.
- When comparing the frequency distribution of two data sets, histograms are a fantastic tool. For example, consider the students’ exam marks. Histograms compare the marks of two different sections of students in a single subject.
How histograms are different from bar charts
Bar charts and histograms both give a visual representation using columns, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. A bar graph often shows a graphical comparison of discrete or categorized variables. A histogram shows how frequently certain variables appear in a piece of data.
Bar charts fit data better than histograms when it is non-numeric or discrete. We need to plot the purchases by different types of clients. Since these categories are discrete and non-numerical, bar charts are better than histograms. Histograms are helpful when we plot customer age against purchase data (continuous and numerical).
Benefits of histograms
- A histogram’s key benefits include its simplicity, adaptability, and simplicity of creation. It is also simple to read and understand.
- Your data can be visualized to help you extract meaningful information. You’ll be able to gain a deeper understanding of your data and get a more comprehensive picture.
- You may quickly comprehend the dynamics, patterns, and relationships between data points and make critical conclusions.
How to Create Histograms in Google Sheets
Google sheets provide us with straightforward and efficient ways to create Histograms. But you must have some data to work with before making a histogram.
In the following example, we will be using the data of students’ exam marks. Below is a picture of the sample data:
This is the data of 15 students showing their marks in the exam out of 100. Let’s move toward the steps for creating a Histogram for the data.
- Select the data for which you want to create a Histogram. Your selection can include the header row.
- Click on the “Insert” Menu and select “Chart.” The chart editor options menu will appear as a pop-up window on the right side of the screen.
- From the options pane, select the chart type as “Histogram.” Sometimes it is already set based on the dataset you have selected.
- Congratulations, we have created a histogram chart for the students’ data. The histogram will look like this:
Histogram customization in Google sheets
Once the chart is created, you can customize it as well. You can use Google Sheets’ extensive customization and formatting tools to present information effectively. We’ll look at each aspect of the chart editor in more detail.
For editing or customizing the chart, click on the top-right corner of the chart showing the hamburger sign and select “Edit Chart” from the menu. The Chart editor window will appear at the right part of the screen showing multiple options to customize the chart. It has two tabs, the Setup tab and Customise tab. We will look through all the possibilities of each tab and explore more.
The setup tab shows the following options:
- Chart Type: It specifies which chart type you must select to populate the chart.
- Data Range: If you wish to incorporate several columns and rows in your histogram, use this functionality. To include rows 1 through 16 in columns A and B, for instance, you may edit this value to “A1:A16, B1:B16.”
- Series: The Histogram can also be expanded using this feature by adding more columns or rows. To utilize it, choose “Add Series,” then “OK” after selecting the desired series.
- Switch row and column: This toggle button is for switching the row and column data.
- Use row 1 as headers: This option specifies the row header as the header for the chart.
Use column A as headers: This button sets the option to use Column A as the headers and key value for the chart.
You may personalize the histogram chart in Google Sheets using a variety of parameters.
Most of these options are simple to comprehend, and once you use one, you’ll understand precisely what it does.
In this article, we also review several useful settings that need explanation. The Customize tab shows multiple options which contain more customization options in them. We will go through the items one by one.
The chart-style menu shows the following options to set:
- Background Color
- Chart Border Color
- Font Style
The Histogram settings area in Google Sheets is the most effective tool for presenting data. Although it has only three options, these are the most critical to set.
- Show Item dividers: To put a line between each item in the chart, check this box. Depending on the data, this might help the distribution be more accurately represented.
- Bucket Size: You can select the value range for each bucket based on the size. You can specify buckets in increments of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50. The sorting in Google Sheets is automated.
- Exceptional Percentile: This option allows you to group data outliers with the closest appropriate bucket.
Select the right Bucket Size
Use the Histogram category in the Chart editor to change the bin sizes to meet your needs. For instance, the size of the score intervals shown along the x-axis is entirely arbitrary.
In actuality, dividing exam results into these intervals could be more logical.
Therefore, intervals of 20 for the distributions would be preferable. The following screenshot sets the values in the Histogram menu:
Chart and Axis title
This option is used for setting the titles of the chart. The titles include the following:
- Chart Title
- Chart subtitle
- Horizontal Axis Title
- Vertical Axis Title
For all of these titles, you can set the following attributes:
- Title text
- Title font
- Font size
- Text format
- Text Color
This option allows you to set the color of the series included in your histogram. It is mostly used when you have more than one series in the histogram, and you need to compare the values of both series. For example, if we have the test score of another class section as well, we can create a chart like this:
The chart above shows the students’ scores for two sections(section A and section B). Section B is shown with yellow color, and section A is shown with Red color.
Legend is information about the data depicted by the any chart. Having proper legends in histograms helps readers understand the histogram data quickly and easily.
The legend menu allows you to set the following properties of the legend:
- Position: This sets the position of the Legend (None, Top, Bottom, Right, Left, Inside).
- Legend Font
- Font Size
- Font Color
Horizontal and Vertical Axis
The histogram’s range can be altered using this category. For instance, you might want to narrow the range of values the bins should spread throughout.
It would make sense to spread the points in our example between 0 and 100. You must set the horizontal axis category’s minimum and maximum values to 0 and 100, respectively.
Setting the min and max inputs appropriately helps you give your histogram context.
This menu also allows us to set different properties of axis labels like:
- Label Font
- Label Font Size
- Label Text Format
- Label Text Color
- Slant Label: To display the axis labels at a specific angle, slant the labels. You can display the labels at a 90-degree angle from the horizontal axis.
- Number format: This option sets the format of the numbers displayed on the horizontal and vertical axis, like percentage, currency, scientific notation, etc.
Gridlines and Ticks
The histogram can also be formatted to include major and/or minor gridlines. The gridlines can be any color you like, or you can decide not to have any at all.
The vertical and horizontal axes of your histogram can also have major and/or minor ticks set and formatted in this category. As previously, you have the option of completely avoiding ticks.
After your customization is complete, you have many other options that you can do with the histogram.
- Delete the chart
- Download the chart in image or PDF format.
- Publish the chart to some website
- Copy or move the chart
- Set alt text
In conclusion, creating a histogram in Google Sheets is a simple and straightforward process that can provide valuable insights into your data.
Whether you are a student, a professional, or just someone who wants to get a better understanding of their data, histograms are a powerful tool that can help you make informed decisions.
By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you will be able to create a histogram in Google Sheets in no time, and start exploring your data in a new and meaningful way.
So, go ahead, give it a try and take your data analysis to the next level.
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