Tag Archives: google sheets

Google Sheets Chart Editor Sidebar

Get to know the Google Sheets Chart editor sidebar. The Chart editor sidebar is a pane that organizes chart editing options using collapsible sections. The sidebar allows the chart style, chart and axis titles, series, legend, horizontal axis, vertical axis, and gridlines to be customized. The pane displays different choices depending on chart type.

When customizing a column chart there are 7 sections:

Chart Editor Sections

Discover the features available for each section. Explore the Chart editor sidebar to gain an understanding of the parts of the column chart you can customize.

Customize a Column Chart

  1. Add data to Google sheets. Create a column chart.
  2. To display the Chart editor sidebar, double click the graph.
  3. Click CUSTOMIZE from the Chart editor sidebar.
  4. Chart Style

    Chart style is the appearance of the chart area. It includes the font used for text, background color of the area behind the graph, size of chart, and the style of the columns. When customizing these options, select an easy to read font. In addition, be certain to pick a background color that makes the columns stand out.

    Set the chart style.

    This chart has the Maximize option selected, which places the horizontal and vertical axis titles in the top right corner.

  5. Set the chart style:
    1. Click the Chart style arrow to display the options.
    2. Set the color of the chart area. Click Background color. Pick an option.
    3. Apply a style. Check Maximize to fill the chart area or 3D to have the chart bars look three-dimensional. checkmark blue
    4. Select a Font for the text on the chart.

    Chart & Axis Titles

    Chart and axis titles provide essential information about the data in the graph. The words in the titles can be edited to improve clarity. As well, the font, size, style, and color can be customized to make the text easy to read.

    Set the chart and axis titles.

    The position of the titles is dependent upon the Chart style options selected.

  6. Set the chart title:
    1. Click the Chart & axis titles arrow.
    2. Click the Type arrow, select Chart title.
    3. In the Title text box, type Chart Title.
    4. Customize the appearance of the title. Select a font, font size, format ,
      and text color .
    5. Chart & Axis Titles

  7. To add a chart subtitle, horizontal axis title, or vertical axis title click the Type arrow and make a selection.
  8. Series

    A data series is a row or column of numbers in a worksheet. In a column chart, the series is shown as a set of vertical bars. A simple graph will have one data series, whereas a comparison chart will have two or more data series. The color of the data series can be changed to alter the appearance of the columns. As well, error bars can be applied to the column chart if the graph displays statistical information. Another option is to overlay data labels to identify the value or percentage of each vertical bar, which makes the information easy to understand. As well, a trendline can be applied if the data will be used to study trends or forecast a future value. Pick the options that suit the purpose of your graph.

    data series

    Customize the appearance of the bars in the graph.

  9. Format the series:
    1. Click the Series arrow.
    2. Click the Apply to arrow. Select a data series.
    3. Click Color . Pick an option to set the color of the bars.
    4. Select Left axis or Right axis to move the axis labels.
    5. If the chart displays statistical data you may want to select Error bars and then adjust the settings.
    6. To show values on each bar, check Data labels.
    7. To display a trend or forecast future data, check Trendline and then adjust the settings.
    8. Series


    A legend is a key used to identify the information in a graph. Each data series in a graph has a color. The legend explains what the color represents. If a column chart has one data series, then the legend may not be necessary. However, if there is more than one data series in a graph then the legend should be included.

    Position the legend on the chart.

    Position the legend on the chart.

  10. Position the legend:
    1. Click the Legend arrow.
    2. Select a position. Refer to the tips:
      • None hides the legend.
      • If Maximize was selected as a Chart style option, then most positions will be unavailable.
    3. Select a font, size, format , and text color for the text in the legend.

    position the legend

    Horizontal Axis

    The horizontal axis labels are at the bottom of the column chart and are used to identify the data shown in each vertical bar. The font, size, format, and color of labels can be customized. In addition, the data in the graph can be reversed. Moreover, the labels can be slanted. However, if Maximize was selected as a Chart style option, than the labels will not display on a slant.

    Make the labels for each vertical bar easy to read.

    Format the horizontal axis labels.

  11. Format the horizontal axis labels:
    1. Click the Horizontal axis arrow.
    2. Format the font, font size, format font style , and text color .
    3. To switch the sequence of the vertical bars in the column chart, select Reverse axis order.
    4. Click Slant labels and select an angle to change the orientation of the text.
    Format the horizontal axis labels.

    Labels will not slant if Maximize is a chart style option.

    Vertical Axis

    The vertical axis labels are at the side of the column chart and are used to identify the value each bar represents. The font, size, format, and color of the label can be customized. In addition, the scale used to display the data can be adjusted.

    Format the vertical axis labels and scale.

    Format the vertical axis labels and scale.

  12. Format the vertical axis labels:
    1. Click the Vertical axis or Right vertical axis arrow.
    2. Format the font, font size, format font style , and text color .
    3. Typically the minimum value is zero. Set a higher minimum value in the Min box if you want to only display bars that are greater than zero.
    4. Typically the maximum value is the greatest data value included in the column chart. Set a higher maximum value in the Max box if you want to add space above the tallest vertical bar on the graph.
    Customize the vertical labels.

    Customize the vertical labels.


    The gridlines are horizontal lines in the plot area. They act as a guide for identifying the value of each vertical bar. The amount, position, color, and type of gridlines can be set.

    Format number and color of gridlines.

    Format number and color of gridlines.

  13. Format the gridlines:
    1. Click the Gridlines arrow.
    2. Select Vertical axis or Right vertical axis from the Apply to box.
    3. Pick a number for the Major gridline count.
    4. Set the Major gridline color. Click Major gridline color. Pick an option.
    5. Pick a number for the Minor gridline count.
    6. Set the Minor gridline color. Click Major gridline color. Pick an option.


    Activities that Use the Chart Editor Sidebar

    Do you want to teach graphing to your students using Google Sheets? TechnoKids has many projects for integrating spreadsheets into curriculum. Increase candy sales with TechnoCandy. Launch a business venture in TechnoRestaurateur. Develop a budget for a shopping spree in TechnoBudget. Analyze data in TechnoQuestionnaire.

Explore Tool in G Suite for Education

explore tool

The Explore Tool is in the lower right corner of any Docs, Slides, or Sheets document.

Google Apps for Education recently announced that it will now be known as G Suite for Education. Along with the rebranding, some other updates were made. Most notable for teachers, the Research Tool has been eliminated and replaced by the Explore Tool, which has some benefits and but also a significant shortcoming.

First, the bad news. Gone is the ability to add citations and footnotes directly into a document using the Research Tool. For teachers and students, this is an unfortunate setback. Being able to easily and quickly identify sources is an essential research skill. What used to be an onerous task, was made simple by the Research Tool. One click on Cite automatically inserted a citation and footnote. We hope that Google will reinstate this function soon. In the meantime, in my next post, I’ll include some online citation makers that create a citation with the click of a button!

The good news is that you can still search without leaving the document. Spending less time switching between apps allows students to focus on the assignment and its content.

In Docs, clicking on the Explore Tool offers three options: WEB, IMAGES, and DRIVE.

Enter a topic into the search box. WEB results include a title, URL, and short snippet summarizing the website. Clicking on a link opens a new browser tab.
explore search results

Clicking on IMAGES offers a gallery of pictures related to the search term. To insert an image into the document, simply drag it where it is to be placed. It will, by default, be in line but text wrap can be changed by selecting the image and choosing Wrap text.
explore tool images

Selecting DRIVE looks in your Google Drive for files that include the search term.

If the Explore Tool is opened when there is already text in the document, instant search suggestions are given based on the contents. Google calls this ‘insight’ and it does seem to work quite well.

The Explore Tool is consistent in Sheets and Slides. In Sheets, use the Explore Tool to ask questions about data using words if you do not know how to construct a formula. Formula and formatting suggestions are offered based on the content of the spreadsheet. In Slides, the Explore Tool also offers design suggestions as well as search results.

The research recommendations, design tools, and insight capability of this new tool make it an effective and productive update to G Suite for Education.

Integrate Mathematics and Technology

Money Management and TechnoBudget

With essential curriculum to teach in addition to computer skills, teachers have to be creative and resourceful to ‘get it all done’. Then to ensure that students are engaged and interested adds another level of challenge!

TechnoBudget is a new release by TechnoKids Inc. created to meet all three objectives:

  • Teach fundamental mathematics expectations
  • Build spreadsheet skills
  • Hook students with meaningful, real world learning experiences

The activities in TechnoBudget develop financial literacy using a scenario that is understandable for young people. The project begins with students receiving an unexpected windfall for which they must create a budget. The budget must fall within specific restrictions. A pie graph is made to graphically depict the budget. Next, students go on a shopping spree using online resources. They organize, calculate, and graph the shopping plan. Finally, they write a report to justify their financial choices and share insights about money management.

Teach Fundamental Mathematics Expectations

  1. Problem Solving
    TechnoBudget follows a problem solving model. As they make their budgets and spending plans, students must apply critical thinking to organize their ideas, research purchasing options, compare choices, reflect upon their plan, and defend their reasoning. The report they write to justify their financial choices is the final communication step that reviews and explains how the solution was reached.
  2. Graphing
    Data management and probability is a core strand in the Mathematics curriculum. Students learn about gathering, organizing, and displaying data. When these learning expectations are applied to a real-life situation such as budgeting, shopping, and making a spending plan, students are much more likely to acquire the skills and understand their relevance.
  3. Money Management and Financial Literacy
    Children are consumers long before we teach them to be thoughtful, wise, and discriminating consumers. Giving them the skills to make good decisions about their spending and saving is essential. The math curriculum should include learning how to manage money responsibly. TechnoBudget begins with an activity where students gain insight into their own values and spending practices. They rate their habits to find out “Are you a spender or a saver?” As they design their own budget, following required restrictions, they build skills to make educated financial decisions. Optional extension activities include comparison shopping, consumer awareness, using a spreadsheet to calculate interest payments, and more.

Build Spreadsheet Skills
As students create the budget, spending plan, and write their financial report, they develop fundamental spreadsheet skills, including:

  • create and manage workbooks
  • insert, select, and format cells, rows, columns, and ranges
  • use Auto Fill to fill cells with a data series
  • produce, format, and label a pie and bar graph
  • use formulas and functions

Hook students with meaningful, real world learning experiences
Designing a budget is a real world experience, not to mention an essential life skill. Receiving an unexpected windfall of money appeals to anyone and engages students. And getting to plan a shopping spree in TechnoBudget will hook even the most reluctant learner!

Integrate mathematics and computer skills

Integrate mathematics and technology

Experiment with Sum in Spreadsheets

There is more than one way to write a formula. In a spreadsheet, there are many ways to write an addition formula. Try them! Which way do you like the best?

You have surveyed your friends to find which color of candy they like best. You would like to know the total number of people you surveyed. Using Google Sheets, open a blank spreadsheet and enter the following information. Make sure you enter the first color – blue – in cell A4.

sum in spreadsheets

Survey your friends or use this sample data.

Sum with the plus sign between each cell:

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. Type the formula =B4+B5+B6+B7+B8+B9+B10+B11+B12

Sum with a comma between each cell:

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. Type the formula =SUM(B4,B5,B6,B7,B8,B9,B10,B11,B12)

Sum with a cell range:

  1. Select a blank cell.
  2. Type the formula =SUM(B4:B12)

Sum by naming a cell range:

  1. Select the cells with the votes (B4:B12).
  2. From the Data menu, select Named ranges.
  3. Replace NamedRange1 with votes. Click Done.
  4. Select a blank cell.
  5. Type the formula =SUM(votes)

Which addition formula do you prefer to use? Why?

For more spreadsheet activities using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, see TechnoCandy. Students use math and spreadsheets to investigate a problem, conduct a survey, research packaging, and recommend a solution.