Charting Basics. How to Name Series in Google Sheets

Naming Series in Google Sheets: A Basic Guide #

When working with charts in Google Sheets, it's often helpful to give meaningful names to the series to make them easier to identify and understand. By naming series, you can quickly refer to specific data ranges when creating and editing charts. In this guide, we'll explore how to manually name series in Google Sheets and discuss the possibility of using Google Apps Script for automation purposes. We'll also provide some use case examples to help you better understand the benefits of naming series.

Manually Naming Series in Google Sheets #

To manually name series in Google Sheets, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Google Sheets document and select the data range you want to create a chart from.
  2. Click on the "Insert" menu at the top and select "Chart" from the dropdown list. Alternatively, you can right-click on the selected data range and choose "Insert chart."
  3. The chart will appear on your sheet. Click on it to activate the chart editor.
  4. In the chart editor, you'll find a "Data" tab where you can see the series that make up the chart. Each series will be listed as "Series 1," "Series 2," and so on.
  5. To name a series, click on the pencil icon beside its name.
  6. Enter a descriptive name for the series in the text box that appears and press Enter or click outside the text box to save the name.
  7. Repeat the process for each series you want to name.

By manually naming series in Google Sheets, you can create charts that are easier to understand at a glance. For example, if your chart displays sales data for different regions, you can name each series after the respective region, such as "North America," "Europe," and "Asia."

Automating Series Naming with Google Apps Script #

While it's not possible to directly name series through Google Apps Script at the time of writing, you can still automate the process in various ways. For instance, you can create a script that names the series based on certain criteria or specific data from your spreadsheet.

Here's an example Google Apps Script that scans a range of cells and assigns their values as names to the chart series:

function nameSeries() {
const sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getActiveSheet();
const chart = sheet.getCharts()[0];

const range = sheet.getRange("A1:A3"); // Modify this range according to your needs

// Get the values from the range and assign them as series names
const values = range.getValues();
chart = chart.modify().asLineChart().setOption('series', {0: {labelInLegend: values}}).build();

// Update the chart with the new series names

To use the script:

  1. Open your Google Sheets document.
  2. Click on "Extensions" in the menu bar and select "Apps Script" from the dropdown list. This will open the Apps Script editor.
  3. In the editor, paste the above code.
  4. Adjust the range to match your desired cell range in range = sheet.getRange("A1:A3");.
  5. Click on the save icon (or press Ctrl + S).
  6. Close the Apps Script editor.
  7. Now, you can run the script by clicking on "Extensions" in the menu bar, selecting "Apps Script," and then clicking on the name of the script you just created ("nameSeries").
  8. Once run, the script will assign the values from the specified range as names to the chart series.

Use Case Examples #

  1. Sales Data by Product: If you have a chart displaying sales data for different products, you can name each series after the respective product names, making it easier to identify and compare the sales figures.

  2. Expense Tracking by Category: If you're tracking your expenses and want to chart the spending in various categories, naming each series after the category can help provide a clear overview of your expenditures.

  3. Temperature Trends: Displaying temperature trends for different cities or regions? By naming the series after each location, you can quickly analyze and compare the temperature patterns.

Naming series in Google Sheets charts is a simple yet effective way to enhance the clarity and readability of your data visualizations. Whether you choose to do it manually or explore the possibilities of automation with Google Apps Script, naming series brings valuable context and understanding to your charts.

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