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Getting a “No Data” Notice in Your Chart? Here’s how to fix that…

February 17th, 2009

Thanks to those of you who brought up this question–we definitely did not post enough detail.

Google Spreadsheets won’t let you create a chart unless you have numerical data in your chart.

Let’s say that you asked the class members whether they want to go to Hawaii, and you gave them the option of selecting Yes or No. Your spreadsheet will have a column titled “Do you want to go to Hawaii?” with people’s Yes or No answers in the column. Though it seems like it would be easy just to highlight that column and create a chart with it, you can’t–you’ll get the dreaded “No Data” notice!

So, what DO you do in this case?

You have a few choices. Here they are, easiest to hardest!

  1. Go to the summary view
  2. Make note of the response counts for each response (i.e., 35 Yes, 25 No)
  3. Go back to your spreadsheet and create a new sheet (there is an Add Sheet link at the bottom)
  4. In the new sheet, create a table with your count data. (see below for an image)
  5. Highlight this table, and then go to Insert > Chart


Try the instructions here–it involves using formulas.


I suspect you can do something fancy with the Google Charts API or creating a Gadget–try it if you are very, very brave! Google Docs’ help section is pretty helpful if you want to go that route.


  1. Molly
    February 17th, 2009 at 16:11 | #1

    FYI: It won’t chart numerical ranges either!

  2. Gar
    February 18th, 2009 at 10:46 | #2

    Has anyone figured out how to tease out check-box responses, which allow multiple selections? The way I’m using the COUNTIF function requires an exact match:


    So it misses the count if apples and oranges were both selecte

  3. Kacy
    February 20th, 2009 at 11:18 | #3

    I’m having trouble in being able to choose appropriate cells for labels, is anyone else having this problem, and if so, do you know what I’m doing wrong?

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