How to Make a Chart on Google Docs

From bar graphs to pie charts, present your data visually

What to Know

  • Click in the document and go to Insert menu > Chart > choose a chart type or select From Sheets to use a chart you’ve already made.
  • To edit a chart, select it and click Open source. This will open Google Sheets, where you can make changes.

This article explains how to make charts and graphs in Google Docs from a web browser. You can’t make charts or graphs from the mobile app.

How to Make a Chart in Google Docs

Charts are a common way to express data, which is why they’re normally seen in programs like Google Sheets that deal with large information sets. But you can also add charts and graphs to Google Docs.

Whether it’s a bar, column, line, or pie chart, here’s how to make it in Docs:

  1. Click in the document wherever you want the chart to be. It's easy to change this later if you're not sure right now.

  2. Open the Insert menu from the top of the page.

  3. From the Chart submenu, choose a chart type to have a pre-configured one inserted (we’ll edit it later). Or, select From Sheets to use a chart you’ve already made.

    Here's a summary of the differences:

    • Bar graphs have horizontal blocks.
    • Column charts are similar but are vertical blocks.
    • Line graphs show data points with a straight line connecting them.
    • Pie charts cut the data into pie-like pieces within a circle.
    Insert Chart menu options in Google Docs.

Easy enough, right? You’ll notice, however, that the data you see in the chart isn't editable. You can’t just click inside it and start making changes. Docs doesn’t let you edit charts; it only supports importing them. 

The real information behind the chart or graph is in Google Sheets, where the data is. Therefore, you need to be there to edit everything.

How to Edit Google Docs Charts

Changing the information inside the chart or adjusting how it appears is simple, but you have to do it from Sheets:

  1. Select the chart you want to edit.

  2. Use the arrow at the top-right to choose Open source.

    Open source link in a chart in Google Docs.
  3. Google Sheets will open. This is where you can edit the chart.

    To add or remove data, edit the cells that contain that information. In our example, it's columns A–C and rows 1–5. Selecting the chart itself and opening its settings is how you modify things like the data range, colors, the legend, axis details, etc. Double-click the chart title to make your own.

    Screenshot of a bar graph in Google Sheets
  4. Return to Docs when you're done editing and use the UPDATE button on the chart to refresh it with any changes you made.

    The update button in a chart in Google Docs.

Some surface-level editing can also be done within Docs. Moving the chart or graph is similar to how you move images, so you can define how it should sit with other text. Clicking it shows three options: in-line (it sits on the same line as the text), wrap text (it sits within the text), and break text (it sits on its own line without text on either side).

You can also rotate and resize charts and graphs. Select the item once to see blue border boxes like the image below shows; drag a corner box inward or outward to make the chart smaller or larger. The circular button at the top is for rotation.

The three-dotted menu button that appears below the chart when you click it is how you access extra options like recoloring, transparency, brightness, and contrast toggles.

Screenshot of Google Docs image options for a bar graph
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