How to use the Google Motion Chart (Gadget) to liven up those tables of data.

I continually am surprised, in a nice way, with the applications that Google continue to develop. One of them is Google Motion Chart. Many years ago I came across the Gapminder Foundation, which originally developed the Trendalyzer application in Stokholm, and was acquired by Google in March 2006. The application makes data come alive by converting international statistics into moving, interactive graphics. The Foundation’s aim is to promote a fact-based world view through increased use and understanding of freely accessible public statistics. From the website you can access interactive motion charts, videos, flash presentations and pdfs.

Wouldn’t it be nice to apply the same kind of motion chart to your own data? Well you can, using the Motion Chart (Bubble) Chart Gadget from Google. It is easy to do via Google documents. Have a look at the online spreadsheet eltsc.1 and the embedded example at the bottom of the page, which shows the number of children under the age of 15 in East Lothian, over time, as well as a Motion Chart. Here is how you do it.

1. Create a Google Account (its free) if you haven’t got one.

2. Once logged in, go to Google Documents and make a new spreadsheet. Either enter your data online, including column headings, or upload an existing excel spreadsheet, It must have the following format though:

First Column – Name(s) e.g. Male. Female / Second Column – Time (day, month, quarter or year) e.g. year / 2 columns of numerical data / further optional columns of data.

3. Once the spreadsheet has been created got to Insert > Gadget and choose Motion Chart and click the Add to your spreadsheet button. Note, there are many other gadgets to choose from. 

4. Highlight the range of data you want to appear in the Motion (Bubble) Chart, including headings. Choose a Heading and Click Apply. The Chart will appear in your spreadsheet. You can of course have it on a separate worksheet.

Why not share your spreadsheet and Motion (Bubble) chart online with one or more people? and you choose who can observe or edit the data.  Also why not send me some llinks to spreadsheets that you have enhanced with the Motion Chart Gadget?

About the Author:

Jeff is the Managing Director of JRH Consultancy Ltd with 30 plus years of experience in education, (as an AST, HOD, Senior Teacher, Senior Examiner, Advisor) and as a consultant in the Commercial and Public sector. He offers to schools and LA's the following support and services. Please contact Jeff for more information:

(M: 07765253028 / E:

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