A histogram plot helps to visually represent the frequency distribution of the desired variable, in a given dataset. It has many practical uses in statistical analysis. But making a histogram in Google Sheets is slightly different compared to how you would achieve it in Excel.
In this guide, we will learn to leverage a histogram plot to show the frequency distribution of data in Google Sheets.
Let’s take an example.
If you have been reading some of our last few guides, we have been using marks and grades for most of our examples. Let us stick to it for this guide as well. I have the complete list of marks secured by students in a class, and I want to understand the general performance of the students based on these marks. Have the students performed well in general? How many students have secured top scores? It becomes cumbersome to answer these types of questions by just eyeballing the marks.
And this is where plotting a histogram will help me.
Let us learn to construct such plots in Google Sheets with the help of examples.
Real Example of Making a Histogram
Take a look at the example below to see how to make a histogram in Google Sheets. Given below are marks secured by high school students in a class. The objective is to study the distribution of marks in the class.
As you can see below, a histogram plot provides a sound understanding of the distribution of marks:
Try changing the histogram properties to alter the look and feel and see how the result changes. Go ahead and make a copy of the spreadsheet using the link I have attached below:
Awesome! Let’s begin by creating our histogram on Google Sheets.
How to Make a Histogram in Google Sheets
- I have listed the marks secured by students from different grades in the same school. The objective is to study the distribution of marks secured by students in this class.
- To create a histogram, make a selection of the data range first, in this case – B2: B21. We are interested in learning about the distribution of this selection of data.
3. Once you select the data range, navigate to the Insert tab and click on Chart.
4. When you click the Chart option, you should have a histogram plot on your sheet with a Chart Editor tab on the right hand side. This tab helps you customize the plot as per your requirements. You will notice that Google Sheets by default gives values for most of the properties.
- To ensure that you have made a correct graph, verify whether the Data Range and Series correspond to the correct column in the original data.
- Once you have the basic plot ready, move to the Customize section of the Chart Editor and make the required cosmetic changes to your plot. Voila! Your histogram should be ready!
How to Customize a Histogram in Google Sheets
Google Sheets provides some cool customizations you can apply to the chart to make it look neater and more beautiful. Let’s look at a few of them:
- Google Sheets named my histogram plot “Histogram of Marks”. It’s not quite as informative now, is it? Triple click on the chart title to give your chart a personalized title. For example, I am giving the title “Distribution of Student Marks”.
- The Chart style option in the Chart editor lets you set the background color, border color, etc. If you want a darker background, select the Background color option and choose the black color. Change the text color under both Horizontal and Vertical axis to match the Chart Title’s text color.
- Also, if you want the data to be grouped into more buckets, there is a ‘Bucket Size’ option under Histogram section of the Customize tab. Reduce the bucket size to say 5, and you should have a plot that looks like the one below:
- Check out the other options under the Customize tab like label font, label font size and label format. Use these to format the axes values – change the font, font size or to make them bold and/or italicized.
- Finally, once you make all the desired changes, simply click on the X symbol in the top right-hand corner of the Customize tab.
You can now see that we have the desired result – the marks secured by the students are distributed from the lowest to the highest. That’s pretty much it. You have everything you need to get started with making histograms on Google Sheets. I recommend experimenting with the plot functions and customizations, and using them with the numerous Google Sheets formulas available, and seeing what you can come up with.