How To Make A Dot Plot In Google Sheets

In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a dot plot in Google Sheets.

How To Make A Dot Plot In Google Sheets

Because of their simplicity, Dot Plots are extremely useful in representing certain types of data in an understandable format.

Unfortunately, Google Sheets doesn’t have a pre-made Dot Plot option, but it’s possible to use a Scatter Plot to generate a Dot Plot

Making a Frequency Dot Plot

The Frequency dot plot is used to show quantity across categories by representing each instance of the measured value with a dot in the category column

Step 1

For this tutorial, we’ll start with the data in two columns for label and quantity

Step 2

In order to use this data for a frequency dot plot, it needs to be modified to have cells of data that represent each of the dots for the dot plot.

Fortunately, we can do this with a quick formula. Type the following formula into cell C2, to the right of the first label: =SEQUENCE(1,A2).

The SEQUENCE function creates a grid of sequential numbers with the specified number of rows and columns. In this case, we specify a single row and use the data in column A as the columns

Step 3

Select the cell containing the formula and copy it down to all data rows

Step 4

Select the range including all the label data and numbers generated by the SEQUENCE formulas, then open the Insert menu and choose the Chart option

Step 5

In the Chart Editor, choose the Scatter Plot option under Chart Type

Step 6

A dot plot will appear

Step 7

The scatter plot legend is confusing for our purposes, so double click on the legend to select it, then hit delete and the legend will disappear

Making a Comparative Dot Plot

The Comparative dot plot is an alternative to the bar chart, where dots are used to represent the quantities of different categories for comparison

Step 1

Start with data points separated into columns by category

Step 2

Generate a column with the set of all data points across categories using this formula:

=UNIQUE(SORT(ARRAYFORMULA({A3:A10; B3:B10; C3:C10})))

where the ranges A3:A10, B3:B10, and C3:C10 are the data ranges from Step 1.

Note that they are separated by semicolons in the formula, and there should be as many ranges as you have columns of data

Step 3

Type the following formula in column B, beside the list of all data points:

=ArrayFormula(IFNA(VLOOKUP($A$12:$A$20, A3:A10, 1,0),))

This formula displays only data points associated with the data set in the range A3:A10

Step 4

Copy this formula for all other data sets and add labels at the top of each

Step 5

Select the labels and data, then follow Steps 4-7 in the Frequency Dot Plot instructions above to generate a dot plot

Step 6

At the bottom of the chart editor, ensure the Use Column B checkbox is unchecked, while the other two are checked

Step 7

Your dot plot is done

Summary

Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to make a dot plot in Google Sheets. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.

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