data visualization: basics

Make a bar chart

OK. We're ready to make our chart. Go to the Insert menu and select Gadget. In the pop-up box, click the "Charts" link and scroll down until you find the interactive column chart. Then click "Add to spreadsheet."

Select the bar chart gadget

We forgot to select a range, so let's fix that. Change the Range field to read "Sheet1!A1:B11" Change Legend to "On Top." Change the "Axis minimal value" to zero. This  field sets your baseline. In most cases, bar charts should have a baseline of zero. Then click "Apply and close."

Settings for a bar chart gadget

Robbery Bar chart

Your chart should look like this.

If you want to compare the crimes to each other, you can make a grouped bar chart by extending the range. Click "Edit" and change B11 to D11. Then click "Apply and close."

The result will be similar to the second chart on the right. This can be an effective way to compare multiple totals/trends.

Bar Group chart

Tip: A word of caution about grouped bars. They often need space to be readable because they visualize a lot of data. Remember, your job is to simplify the information for the reader, so don't be afraid to edit.

Get your embed code: Click the the triangle on the top right of the gadget. In the menu, select "Publish Gadget." Copy and paste the code into a page on your site.