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How To Add A Target Line In Google Sheets

Google Sheets is one of the best tools for managing and analyzing data. While Google Sheets has many valuable resources you can deploy for seamless analysis, it also offers useful features, such as the ability to add a target line to a chart. 

For those who have no idea, a target line in Google Sheets is a robust tool deployed for analyzing trends and levels between the data set and expected variables. When included in a chart, a target line tends to measure the deviation of data components from the projected measures. 

In this article, we will give you a comprehensive walkthrough on how to add a target line in Google Sheets. 

Whether you have attempted this before or this is something you’re doing for the first time, this guide will simplify the entire process. Let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1: Create the data

Before you can add a target line in Google Sheets, you’ll need to have a data set to work with. So for this tutorial, we will be using the following sample data. If you already have data to work with, you can skip to the next step. 

Our sample sheet represents sales data along with the sales goals for different continents. Here is what it looks like.

Step 2: Create a chart 

Now that we have the data set to work with. We need to add a chart to our Google Sheets, which is super easy and straightforward. For those who have never created a chart in Google Sheets, here is how to go about it: 

Start by highlighting the data in your spreadsheet. Here is what ours look like. 

Step 2.1: Insert > Chart

With our data now highlighted, we go ahead and insert the chart. To do this, head over to the Insert tab and select the option for Chart. 

Alternatively, select the “Insert Chart” icon on the sub-menu. Here is how that works. 

If you followed everything exactly as we detailed above, you should have a chart in your spreadsheet that looks like this: 

From the image above, you’ll notice that Google Sheets automatically created a pie chart for us. But since our objective with this guide is to add a target line in Google Sheets, we need to change the chart generated by Google Sheets to a combo chart. Read on as we show you how to do that shortly. 

Step 3: Switch the pie chart to a combo chart 

Switching from one chart type to another in Google Sheets is one of the easiest things to do. Plus, it only takes a couple of clicks to get this done. Here, check out how to switch from a pie chart to a combo chart in Google Sheets

  • Start by launching the chart editor. To do this, click anywhere on the chart. After doing that, you’ll notice a three-dot icon on the top right of the chart. Click on it and select the option for Edit chart. If you don’t want to go through this hassle, you can double-click on the chart, and the chart editor should be launched instantly to the extreme right of your spreadsheet. 
  • With the Chart editor now launched, select the option for Setup. Underneath the option for Chart type, click on the dropdown menu and scroll all the way down to find the option for Combo chart. Here is a short video demo showing you how to execute this step correctly. 

After switching from a pie chart to a combo chart, you’ll notice that the chart in your spreadsheet has been automatically updated to reflect the changes made. Here is what our chart now looks like. 

From the chart above, you’ll notice that it already features a target line, which is what we wanted to add to our Google Sheets. So we didn’t need to do anything special to add a target line in Google Sheets. All we did to include the target line was to switch from the pie chart, which was originally created by Google Sheets, to a combo chart. 

Another thing you’ll notice from the chart above is that the target line clearly shows which continents met their sales goals and which fell short. 

Customize chart 

Now that you know how to add a target line to Google Sheets, you can either leave things as they currently are or customize the chart to give it more depth. While this isn’t compulsory, you can do it to enhance how your chart looks. 

Even though we can tweak a lot of things in our chart, we would love to keep things simple. So instead of having the line the way it currently looks, we would love to change the color and change it to a dashed line. Here is how to go about it. 

  • Head over to the Chart editor on the extreme right of the spreadsheet
  • You’ll find two options, Setup and Customize. Since we want to make changes to the line type and color, we will select the option for Customize. 
  • Underneath the Customize tab, you’ll find a dropdown with different options. Select the option for Series. 
  • After selecting Series, you’ll see an option that says “Apply to all series,” click on it and change that to Goals. 
  • With that option locked in, you can now customize the line as you want. First, click the Line color option and choose the color you want. For this guide, we will go with green. 
  • Now that we have tweaked the color of our line, we need to change the line dash chart too. To do that, click the Line dash type option and choose your preferred line dash type. For this guide, we will select the option for “Dashed.” 

With all the changes now effected, here is what our combo chart looks like: 

In a nutshell

Adding a target line to your Google Sheets chart will allow you to visualize your data and set your goals. By carefully following the steps outlined in this give, you’ll be able to add a target line to your charts in Google Sheets. Also, we showed you how you can customize your chart to meet your needs. Feel free to explore those options to add depth to your chart. 

Whether you’re managing data for professional or personal use, being able to add a target line in your Google Sheets guide will help you gain valuable insight into the data you’re working with. 

We hope this guide has been helpful. 

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