In this section, you’ll learn about the pros and cons of creating interactive charts in Google Sheets, the powerful spreadsheet tool we introduced in Chapter 2. Google Sheets has many advantages for newcomers to data visualization. First, Google Sheets allows you to clean, analyze, share, and publish charts, all in the same platform. One tool does it all, which makes it easier to organize your work by keeping it all together in one place. Second, Google Sheets is familiar and easy to learn to many users, so it will help you to quickly create good-looking interactive charts. See all of the types of charts you can create with Google Sheets. Although some people export charts as static images in JPG or PNG format, this chapter focuses on creating interactive charts that display more info about your data when you hover over them in your browser. Later, you’ll learn how to embed an interactive chart on your website in Chapter 9.
But Google Sheets also has limitations. First, while you can enter textual source notes in a chart subtitle, there is no easy way to place a clickable link to your source data inside a Google Sheets chart, so you will need to add source details or links in a web page that contains your embedded interactive chart. Second, you cannot add text annotations or highlight specific items inside your charts. Finally, you are limited in customizing your chart design, especially tooltips when hovering over data visualizations. If Google Sheets does not meet your needs, refer back to Table 6.1 for other tools and tutorials, such as Datawrapper, Tableau Public, and Chart.js and Highcharts code templates.
In the next two sections, we’ll review the most appropriate cases to use bar and column charts, followed by pie, line, and area charts. Each section features hands-on examples and step-by-step instructions with sample datasets to help you learn.