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Google Sheets: Create Pictographs

Google Sheets, which is Google's spreadsheet tool (think Excel), is a great tool for many purposes including creating graphs, calculating averages, tracking student progress, and many others! But, it can also be used for students--even very young students--to create pictographs of data they are collecting. The teacher will create a template and use a formula, but once that's created, kids can create pictographs to their heart's content!

Here's how...

1. Open a new Google Sheets spreadsheet by going to or typing in the address bar.

2. Name the spreadsheet something that makes sense to you such as 'Sheets Pictograph'.

3. Label cell A1 with the word 'Item' or something else that makes sense to you.

4. Label cell B1 with 'Count' or something else that makes sense to you.

5. Hover over the 'magic cell' to the left of 'A' and above '1' and move your cursor to the bottom of the 'magic cell' so it changes into a hand icon.
6. When the hand appears, drag the line down below row 1. You've just frozen the top row so you can scroll down and still see the information there!

7. Now, the fun part! Go to and choose any emoji you'd like to have the students use for their pictographs.

8. Copy the emoji and paste it into cell C1.

9. Copy the following formula starting with the equal sign and finishing with the closed parenthesis: =rept($C$1, B2) and paste it in cell C2. 

Side Note: In case you're interested, the 'rept' stands for repeat, the $C$1 is 'absolute cell referencing' meaning it will always repeat what was entered in cell C1 (your emoji), and B2 refers to the number you will be typing into that cell.

10. Click cell C2 so it is outlined in blue. In the lower right corner of the cell is a small blue box, click and drag it straight down through Column C. This will enter your formula into every cell in the column.

11. Type the name of the item being counted in Column A.
12. Type the number of items in Column B and watch the graph grow to the right!
Idea from Alice Keeler at For the original blog post, please click this link:


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