7 Great Google Spreadsheet Gadgets

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4. Produce an Interactive Table

At its simplest, the Table gadget lets you filter data to see a subset of it.
The Google Table gadget allows you to analyze data by creating a table that supports filtering, grouping, and even totaling. Insert the gadget by choosing Insert > Gadget > Tables > Add to spreadsheet. Select the range containing your data, including the heading row, and click OK. Click in the Title box and type a title for your tables. Select the checkboxes for Show Filters and Enable Grouping, and then click Apply & Close.

You'll see a table appear in the gadget dialog box, with the headings over each column. Use the filter box at the top of each column to filter that column of data.

To group the data by the contents of column A, for example, click the Define groupings and calculations link, select that column's heading, and click the arrow to add it to 'Group by Box'. Click Next, and select a column to calculate. To sum Profit, for instance, set the Profit entry to Total. You can apply calculations to multiple columns, if you desire, or to none at all if you just want to group the data.

Click OK, and the gadget will show you the grouped data, with any calculations appearing in the row above the appropriate group. You can collapse and expand the groups as necessary to see the values in the table.

5. Create a Gantt Chart From Project Data

The Gantt Chart gadget illustrates the tasks in a project and the time allotted for each of them.
You can use a Gantt chart to display projects involving tasks that must be performed over time. To make this type of chart, you need three columns of data (with an optional fourth column).

In the first column, place a list of the individual tasks in the overall project--the steps needed to create and publish an email newsletter, for example. In the second column, place the start date for each task; in the third column, insert the end date for the task. If you wish, you can add a fourth column containing the percentage completed for that task.

To produce the Gantt chart, choose Insert > Gadget > Charts. Locate the Gantt chart and click Add to spreadsheet. Select the data for the tasks, the start and end dates, and the completed percentage, and click OK. Set the Name column to the column containing the task names. Set the Start column, Finish column, and % Complete column to the column letters containing that data (typically columns B, C, and D), and click Apply & Close. The Gantt chart will present the tasks to be completed, their start and end dates, and the progress made toward their completion to date.

6. Plot Data as Colors on a Map

The Heatmap gadget shows relative values as colors on a map.
You can plot data related to states or countries on a heat map, with small values indicated by light colors and larger values rendered in darker and more saturated colors.

To plot the data correctly, you must use ISO country codes (or, for U.S. states, the usual two-letter state codes). Place the data to plot in the cell to the right of each relevant state or country. Choose Insert > Gadget > Map > Heatmap, and then click Add to spreadsheet.

Select the data--including the locations and the data to plot, but not the column headings--and click OK. Type a title for the heatmap in the Title box, select the map type from the Region box (click USA to plot data on a United States map), and click Apply & Close. The map will appear with the regions colored appropriately for the value of the data associated with each.

7. Create an Animated Pie Chart

Drag on a pie slice in the animated pie chart to offset it from the chart itself.
Interactive charts are more interesting to look at than static graphs. You can create animated pie charts in a Google spreadsheet using a gadget. For this chart, you need only the categories and one set of data, because pie charts can plot only a single data series.

Insert the gadget by choosing Insert > Gadget > Charts. Locate the FusionCharts Pie & Donut Widget, and click Add to spreadsheet. Click in the Range box, select the data to plot--omitting the column headings--and click OK.

Now select the chart type, such as Pie 3D. Type a caption and subcaption for the chart to inform the viewer as to the information the chart is intended to convey. Enable the Animate checkbox, and, if you prefer, enable Values On and Labels On to show both labels and values for each pie slice. If you enable Tooltips, the mouse pointer will show a tooltip if the user hovers the mouse over a given slice. Select Format Number and set Decimals to No Decimal so that numbers will be constrained in size. Enabling Shorten Values will ensure that the chart presents large values legibly. Click Apply & Close.

When the chart appears, you can drag on a pie slice to explode it from the chart. Right-click the chart and click Enable Rotation so that you can then rotate the chart with your mouse.

Gadgets such as these add a range of extra functions to Google spreadsheets, allowing you to do new things with your data and display it in ways that can help your business.

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