Have you ever researched the similarities and differences between a Scatter Plot and a Line Chart? If not, you probably misunderstood the role of the two visualizations.
Word on the streets is that many of you conclude that a Line Graph and a Scatter Plot perform the same job. Let not their appearance deceive you.
Here’s a fact you should know.
A Line Chart helps you display patterns and trends of variables in your data. On the other hand, a Scatter Plot enables you to visualize critical data variables.
The truth is that both charts are essential in your data story. Why? It’s because they are easy to plot and decode.
This blog will teach you more about Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph. You have much to understand about both charts.
Let’s get down to business.
A Scatter Plot is a visualization that displays relationships between vital data points. A Scatter Plot is commonly known as an xy Graph.
This visualization has several dots that are essential in showing the correlation between the variables you plot.
A Scatter Plot is best suited for the job if your objective is to reveal hidden insights between two variables.
Let’s use the example below. We want to see if there is a correlation between height and age in both genders.
Gender  Name  Age (Years)  Height (inches)  Weight (lb) 
Male  Martin  8  50  52 
Male  Martin  11  62  73 
Male  Martin  16  66  134 
Male  Martin  20  71  155 
Male  Kim  6  48  52 
Male  Kim  13  63  76 
Male  Kim  17  68  131 
Male  Kim  19  73  153 
Female  Jada  9  52  57 
Female  Jada  14  57  79 
Female  Jada  16  62  117 
Female  Jada  20  66  126 
Female  Aubree  8  54  56 
Female  Aubree  11  61  81 
Female  Aubree  15  62  115 
Female  Aubree  20  63  127 
When you visualize the above data using a Scatter Plot, it will appear as shown below.
Some of the insights you can identify from your Scatter Plot include the following:
A Line Graph is also known as a Line Chart. A Line Graph is a visualization that shows how a variable changes over time.
You can also use the Line Graph to display how several variables change over time. One of the significant benefits of using a Line Graph is that it is simple to read and interpret.
You can use a Line Graph to display categorical and continuous data.
Let’s use an example of data you can use as a Line graph. The table below shows the age and height of several female respondents.
Age (Years)  Height (inches) 
8  50 
11  57 
14  63 
18  64 
The Line Graph of the above data will appear as shown below.
One of the insights you can retrieve from the Line Graph is:
The height of the female respondents increases with age. In essence, the older respondents are taller than the younger ones.
Let’s now identify the differences between the two graphs.
Line Chart vs. Scatter Plot appears as two similar visualizations but have different roles.
The image below shows a clear difference between the two graphs.
Graph A is a Line Graph. Graph B is a Scatter Plot.
As you can see, a Scatter Plot uses a line of best fit to display a relationship between two varying data sets. Still, a Scatter Plot uses dots to show correlations and associations in your raw data.
On the other hand, a Line Graph connects various data points using straight line segments. There is no line of best fit in this case. The straightline segments help you identify trends and patterns in your data.
Generally, it is better to use a Line Graph if your raw data includes nonnumeric values. If your raw data only has numeric values, use a Scatter Plot.
You can use a Line Graph if you want to label your horizontal axis with text labels. These labels can represent evenly spaced values as days, weeks, and years. You can use a Scatter Plot to modify the horizontal axis scale.
Let’s take a look at each in detail.
Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph

Line Graph 
Scatter Plot 
Purpose 
A Line Graph displays meaningful insights into continuous data over time. The graph uses linesegments to connect key data points relative to a specified time. A Line Graph is ideal for showing growth rates or trends at even intervals. 
A Scatter is best in displaying relationships between varying variables. It’s suitable for displaying associations and correlations. Still, you can use a Scatter Plot Graph in causeeffect analysis for indepth insights. 
Axis 
The xaxis shows dimensional variables, such as months and years. The yaxis displays key metrics in your data. 
Both x and yaxes depict varying metrics, which are in most cases numerical. 
Plots 
Linesegments join key data points. 
You draw a line of best fit in areas where dots are mostly concentrated. 
Amount of Data 
One of the disadvantages of the Line Chart is the fact that it cannot handle bulky and complex data. 
Scatter Plots are suitable in visualizing bulky and complex data sets. 
Google Sheets is a spreadsheet application that most business professionals use. However, Google Sheets uses basic Scatter Plots and Line Graphs in its library.
That is why you will need much customization to obtain a Scatter Plot or a Line Graph that is in harmony with your data story.
The best approach is to supercharge your Google Sheets with a thirdparty addon called ChartExpo.
You can easily install ChartExpo in your Google Sheets with less help from a manual. ChartExpo has plenty of good visualizations you can use for your data stories.
With ChartExpo, you can restate the Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph misconception. The thirdparty addon helps you to distinguish between the two graphs easily.
Let’s find out how to make each visualization in Google Sheets.
Let’s compare the age, height, and weight of both genders.
The table below shows such data.
Gender  Name  Age (Years)  Height (inches)  Weight (lb) 
Male  Martin  8  50  52 
Male  Martin  11  62  73 
Male  Martin  16  66  134 
Male  Martin  20  71  155 
Male  Kim  6  48  52 
Male  Kim  13  63  76 
Male  Kim  17  68  131 
Male  Kim  19  73  153 
Female  Jada  9  52  57 
Female  Jada  14  57  79 
Female  Jada  16  62  117 
Female  Jada  20  66  126 
Female  Aubree  8  54  56 
Female  Aubree  11  61  81 
Female  Aubree  15  62  115 
Female  Aubree  20  63  127 
Let’s use a different example to help you create one in your Google Sheets.
Let’s compare the age, and height. You will use the table below.
Age (Years)  Height (inches) 
8  50 
11  62 
14  66 
18  71 
A Scatter Plot can compare many data points. This only means the more data you include in your Scatter Plot, the better the comparisons you can make with this visualization.
Scatter Plot can visualize bulky raw data better than a Line Graph.
Let’s recap what you have learned so far.
Despite the Scatter Plot and Line Graph looking similar, you now understand that they perform different jobs.
We have learned that the difference between the two is that a Scatter Plot displays relationships between vital data variables. On the other hand, a Line Graph shows trends and changes in variables.
You can now end the misconception on the Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph by understanding when you use them. What is common about both charts is that they are straightforward when plotting points.
You have learned how to create Scatter Plot vs. Line Graph in Google Sheets. With the help of a thirdparty addon called ChartExpo, you could easily create an incredible Scatter Plot and Line Graph.
Now it’s your turn to create yours. Start a 7day free trial today to access both Scatter Plots and Line Graphs.