I have a list on Google Spreadsheets. Each line is a mission, and one of the columns indicates who I've worked together on the mission (which is between 1 and 3 people). The format is "Aquaman, Batman, Cyclops", but I can change it if needed.

Is there a way to use the plot/chart tool to create a graph which shows the frequency of each collaborator (essentially a histogram, perhaps sorted by frequency)?

In case a graphical representation is not possible, a textual representation will do, e.g., a sorted list of all collaborators, with the number of collaborations next to each person's name.

I'll be very glad to hear any ideas!


1 Answer 1


The comma-separated representation is really inconvenient in a spreadsheet. So the first thing I'd do is to split it. Suppose column A has the data; put =split(A1,",") in cell B1 and copy down. This fills some of columns B,C,D with the names.

Then you probably want a single column (E) listing each name only once. This can be achieved with

=unique({filter(B:B, len(B:B)); filter(C:C, len(C:C)); filter(D:D, len(D:D))})

Then you need to count how many times each appeared. Like this:


copied down the F column.

Now you have a table with names and their frequencies. This can already be plotted. But if you want to sort by decreasing frequency, use

=sort(E:F, 2, False)

which sorts by the 2nd column of the range, descending.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.