There’s a common misconception that a Line Chart and a Scatter Plot perform the same job due to their similarities in appearance.
Here’s the difference.
A Scatter Plot can help you display the relationship between key variables in your data. The nature of the relationship varies depending on the distribution of dots. Conversely, Line Charts are bestsuited in displaying trends and patterns of variables in data.
You can actually leverage both charts to tell a story using your data because they’re incredibly easy to decode and plot.
Google Sheets produces pretty basic and less intuitive Scatter Plot Graphs and Line Charts, which require a lot of customizing. However, the aforementioned does not imply you should do away with the freemium data visualization tool.
You can actually supercharge Google Sheets’ usability by installing a particular thirdparty addon to access visually appealing Line and Scatter Plot Charts.
In this blog, you’ll learn the following:
In this section, we’ll provide definitions and examples of Scatter Plot and Line Graphs to spell out their differences.
Line Graph is a visualization that displays the changes over a specified time.
The chart has two axes: a horizontally oriented xaxis and a vertical yaxis. The xaxis mainly depicts a dimensional attribute, such as time. Conversely, the vertical axis displays the key metric under study.
The Line Chart is best suited to displaying patterns and trends present in your data. In other words, you can use it to show whether a particular metric is on an up or downtrend in terms of growth.
What is the difference between a Scatter Plot and a Line Graph? The aforementioned question is what we’re debunking to clear the confusion surrounding the same.
Keep reading to discover more.
You can use a Line Graph to visualize continuous and categorical data types.
Take a look at the table below to gain an indepth understanding of Scatter Plots vs. Line Graphs in visualization.
The table below represents data collected from female respondents.
Age (Years)  Height (inches) 
8  50 
11  57 
14  63 
18  64 
Can you get the story associated with the data by just looking at the table above?
Let’s use a Line Chart to display insights into the data above.
Note the difference after visualizing the data.
You can easily tell that the height of the research respondents rises with age. In other words, older respondents are taller than their counterparts.
So when should you select a Line Graph as your premier visualization in your data stories?
A line chart is not for every data but if you have continuous data that you would like to represent through a chart then a line chart is a good option.
Continuous data is data that can take any value. Height, weight, temperature, length, etc. are all examples of continuous data. Some continuous data will change over time; the weight of a child in its first year the temperature in a room throughout the day, and a person’s age after certain years.
This chart is best suited to track short and longterm changes. When there are smaller changes, this chart is best to use rather than any other chart. If multiple lines are used, they may be used for comparison purposes as well.
A Scatter Plot (also called an xy Graph) is a visualization design best suited to displaying relationships between key data points. The chart uses dots to reveal the correlation between the variables under study.
The Scatter Plot Chart is ideal, especially if your goal is to uncover hidden associations between key variables.
Take a look at the table below.
Is there a correlation between the age and height of the genders understudy?
Gender  Name  Age (Years)  Height (inches)  Weight (lb) 
Male  Tom  8  51  50 
Male  Tom  11  60  82 
Male  Tom  16  68  130 
Male  Tom  20  70  148 
Male  Jimmy  6  46  60 
Male  Jimmy  13  60  108 
Male  Jimmy  17  67  147 
Male  Jimmy  19  70  154 
Female  Samantha  9  50  46 
Female  Samantha  14  59  83 
Female  Samantha  16  63  117 
Female  Samantha  20  65  127 
Female  Rhonda  8  53  62 
Female  Rhonda  11  62  101 
Female  Rhonda  15  63  124 
Female  Rhonda  20  64  128 
Let’s visualize the tabular data below using a Scatter Plot Visualization.
It’s crystal clear that the height of the two genders (male and female) increases with age. Moreover, you can notice that the size of the dot is also increased with time which represents the weight of the gender.
What is the difference between Scatter Plots and Line Graphs? This question should never bring confusion. Keep reading to learn more.
The Scatter Plot Charts are ideal in situations where you’ve got the random distribution of variables in data.
If your goal is to display insights into hidden correlations and associations present in your data, your goto chart should be a Scatter Plot.
As we said, a Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph represents two similar visualization types in appearance but different in tasks.
Graph A is a Line Chart while Graph B is a Scatter Plot.
A Line Chart is a visualization design that displays information as data points connected by straight line segments. You can use the chart to extract trend and pattern insights into raw data.
On the other hand, a Scatter Plot Chart uses dots to display associations and correlations present in your raw data. Besides, it uses a line of regression (or the line of best fit) to display the relationship between two sets of varying data.
Take a look at the table below to learn more about the answer to this question: what is the difference between a Scatter Plot and a Line Graph?
Line Graph  Scatter Plot  
Purpose  A Line Graph displays insights into continuous data over a period
The graph uses a line to connect key data points relative to a specified time. A Line Chart is ideal for showing growth rates or trends at even intervals. 
A Scatter Plot works best in displaying relationships between varying variables.
It’s ideal for displaying correlations and associations. Also, you can use a Scatter Plot Graph in causeeffect analysis for indepth insights. 
Axis  The xaxis depicts dimensional variables, such as years, months, and weeks.
The yaxis depicts key metrics present in your data.

Both x and yaxes depict varying metrics, which are mostly numbers. 
Plots  Line segments join the key data points.  The line of best fit is drawn in areas where dots are heavily concentrated. 
Amount of Data  One of the weaknesses of the Line Chart is the fact that it cannot handle bulky and complex data.  Scatter Plots are bestsuited in visualizing bulky and complex data sets. 
We hope the table above has addressed the question: what is the difference between a Scatter Plot and a Line Graph?
Google Sheets is one of the goto data visualization tools for business owners and professionals.
However, this freemium spreadsheet tool comes with very basic Line and Scatter Plot Charts. You need to perform a ton of customizations to get Line Charts and Scatter Plots that are in harmony with your data story example.
Well, you don’t have to do away with the spreadsheet app. You can supercharge Google Sheets’ usability by installing a particular addon called ChartExpo.
ChartExpo is an addon you can easily install in your Google Sheets without watching hours of YouTube tutorials or reading a howto PDF manual.
With 50+ advanced visualizations, ChartExpo turns your complex, raw data into compelling, easytodigest, Scatter Plot Graphs or Line Charts that tell the story of your data.
With just a few clicks, ChartExpo produces simple and easytointerpret visualization designs. Yes, this tool generates charts that are amazingly easy to interpret, even for nontechnical audiences.
With ChartExpo, the Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph confusion is put to rest. The tool is designed to intuitively guide you in distinguishing the role of the two varying visualization designs.
In this section, we’ll use Scatter Plot to visualize the data shown below.
Let’s get started.
Gender  Name  Age (Years)  Height (inches)  Weight (lb) 
Male  Tom  8  51  50 
Male  Tom  11  60  82 
Male  Tom  16  68  130 
Male  Tom  20  70  148 
Male  Jimmy  6  46  60 
Male  Jimmy  13  60  108 
Male  Jimmy  17  67  147 
Male  Jimmy  19  70  154 
Female  Samantha  9  50  46 
Female  Samantha  14  59  83 
Female  Samantha  16  63  117 
Female  Samantha  20  65  127 
Female  Rhonda  8  53  62 
Female  Rhonda  11  62  101 
Female  Rhonda  15  63  124 
Female  Rhonda  20  64  128 
The Line Graphs work well in situations where data is unevenly distributed along the xaxis. To get reliable insights, use values that change with time on your yaxis.
If your goal is to display patterns and trends of key data points, choose a Line Chart.
The Scatter Plot Charts are ideal in situations where you’ve got the random distribution of variables in data.
If your goal is to display insights into hidden correlations and associations present in your data, your goto visualization design should be a Scatter Plot Chart.
Scatter Plots are highly advisable over Line charts if you’ve got a bulky and complex data set. These visualization designs are ideal for displaying hidden associations and correlations of key metrics in your raw data. Also, Scatter Plot Charts are amazingly easy to read and interpret.
What is the difference between a Scatter Plot and a Line Graph?
Here’s the difference.
A Scatter Plot can help you display the relationship between key variables in your data. The nature of the aforementioned relationship varies depending on the distribution of dots. Conversely, Line Charts are best suited in displaying trends and patterns of variables in data.
You can use Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph to tell a story using your data because they’re straightforward to decode and plot.
Google Sheets is one of the goto popular data visualization applications among professionals and business owners worldwide.
However, the visualization tool has pretty basic Scatter Plot Graphs and Line Charts. You have to invest extra effort and time to edit the final charts to align with your needs.
It turns out there’s a specific addon you can download and install in your Google Sheets to access readytouse Scatter Plots and Line Charts.
We recommend you install ChartExpo in your Google Sheets to access readymade Line and Scatter Graphs.
ChartExpo has both Line and Scatter Plot Graphs, plus 50 other advanced charts, which are visually stunning and easy to interpret. Unlike other tools, you don’t need programming skills to visualize your data using ChartExpo.
Sign up for a 7day free trial today to access visually appealing and insightful Line and Scatter Plot Graphs in Google Sheets.
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