A scatter plot (also known as a scatter plot chart) is a useful tool for data analysts, which helps to visually explore and analyze two different data sets. For example, if you compare sales results between different sales teams, a scatter chart will allow you to see who had the best (or worst) performance, just as a line chart would.
While you could use Excel to make a scatter plot, another way to do this is to use open access Google Spreadsheets to make a scattered plot. In this article, we’ll explain how to make a scatter plot in Google Spreadsheets, including how to customize it once it’s created.
How to make a scatter plot in Google Spreadsheets
A scatter plot, as its name suggests, uses scatter points across a graph to display two or more types of linked data. For example, if you want to compare the sales and profits of a sales team, a scatter chart (showing profits and revenue from sales) would be perfect, showing the profits and revenue of each salesperson.
As long as you have two comparable datasets, it’s possible to create a scatter plot, and Google Spreadsheets makes it easy with its graphics creation tool.
- To create a scatter plot in Google Spreadsheets, open a spreadsheet and select the cells that contain your data. With the data selected, select Insert> Graphic from the menu.
- This will open the file Graphics editor in the right panel. Google Spreadsheets will try to automatically determine what kind of chart or graph you should use with the selected data. If Google Spreadsheets didn’t automatically select a spreadsheet, select it in the file Type of chart drop-down menu, which appears in the list Configuration card. If you’re not sure what each chart is, hover over it to show the name.
- The graphics editor will use the selected cells to form the data range of the graphics card. If you want to change this, press the button Select the data range button (next to the button Data range Box). Alternatively, type the range of cells in the file Data range box manually.
- The inserted chart will be immediately updated to the new chart type. By default, it will have a scatter plot X-axis data which joins the two forms of data (e.g., the names of a sales team). He series will show the two (or more) forms of data you want to compare (e.g., profits and revenue). To add additional series, select the file Add series and select one of the additional datasets.
- If you need to delete one of the series, select the file burger menu iconand then select Delete option.
- If you want Google Spreadsheets to use the top row to create headers, select Use row 1 as headers check box. To use the first column as labels (shown next to X axis.), select the file Use column A as labels check box. You can also change rows and columns by selecting Change rows / columns check box.
Customizing a scatter plot
Like all Google Spreadsheets charts and graphs, the graphics editor offers several additional customization options. This allows you to change labels, axis titles, colors, fonts, and more.
- To customize a scatter plot, make sure the file graphics editor the panel on the right is visible. If not, select the chart and select the chart burger menu icon at the top right. From the menu, select Edit the chart option.
- A la Customize file tab Graphics editor from the menu, you can start making changes to your chart. To change the colors and fonts in the graphic, select Graphic style category and select one of the options (for example, background color) to make changes. The changes you make will appear automatically.
- Under Graphic titles and axes, you can change the titles displayed for the chart and the charts. Select a title option from the list Graphic title drop-down menu, then enter the text you want to use in the drop-down menu Title text Box. You can then format the text (including fonts, formatting, and color) in the options below the box.
- By default, data points in a Google Spreadsheets scatter plot are shown as circles. To use a different shape (for example, triangles or X marks), select Series , select a new shape in the category Knit shape dropdown menu. You can also select a new dot size from the file Point size dropdown menu.
- Legend allows you to identify which data sets the points in a scatter plot belong to. To change the font, format, color, and position of the caption, select the file Legend category and make changes using the options provided.
- A la Horizontal axis i Vertical axis categories, you can change the format of the axis labels. Select one of the categories, then make changes to the font, font size, format, and color of the options provided. If you want to reverse the axis order (left to right or right to left), select Reverse axis order check box.
- To help make the scatter plot more visible, you can add grid lines and ticks. To do this, select the file Grid lines and ticks category and select either Horizontal axis or Vertical axis from the drop-down menu. With the Horizontal axis , select the option The main ticks the checkbox to enable ticks on the horizontal axis, and then make changes to the settings (including position, length, color, and thickness) below.
- With the Vertical axis selected option in the file Grid lines and ticks in the menu, you can enable grid lines (upper and lower) and markers for the vertical axis. Select the file Major Grid Lines, Minor Grid Lines, The main ticks or The smaller ticks check boxes to enable these options, and then make changes to the settings (including color, position, length, thickness, and color) below.
Create visual spreadsheets
Now that you know how to make a scatter plot in Google Spreadsheets, you can also experiment with creating other graphs and Google Spreadsheets charts for data analysis, from a line chart to a bar graph. If you’re having trouble, there are Google Spreadsheets templates you can use to get started, ready to fill them with data and create your own graphics.
Experienced Excel users can do the same convert spreadsheets to Google Spreadsheets easily, although some features (such as Excel macros) will not be supported. Use things even further Google Spreadsheets Scripts to extend functionality and integrate spreadsheets with other Google and third-party services.