If you're content to use Excel's default formatting for your chart, you're all finished— just tidy up your chart and print it. If you're like most people, however, you probably can't resist adding a label here or changing the point size there. In this section, you'll learn how to format charts by changing the chart type, editing titles and gridlines, adjusting the legend, adding text, and controlling character formatting. What you learn will apply both to embedded charts and to stand-alone chart sheets in the workbook.
When you created the pie chart in the first example in this chapter, you might not have noticed that the Data menu was replaced by a Chart menu on the menu bar, and that several commands on the remaining menus changed. Excel's Chart menu includes commands that are specifically designed for charting, as shown in Figure 21-3. (Note that your Chart menu might be customized differently.)
Figure 21-3. Excel's Chart menu contains commands specifically designed for charting
The Chart toolbar shown in Figure 21-4 contains several buttons designed to help you format your chart. This toolbar also contains the Chart Objects list box, which you can use to select different components of your chart for editing (such as the chart title, legend, and plot areas). Many of the buttons on the Chart toolbar correspond to commands on the Chart menu, as you'll see in the following sections. Display the Chart toolbar by choosing it from the Toolbars submenu of the View menu.
Figure 21-4. The Chart toolbar appears when a chart is active in the workbook. To remove it, click the Close button.
Even after you create a chart, you're not locked in to one particular chart type. If your data supports it, you can reformat your chart to use any of Excel's 14 chart types. (For example, you can change your pie chart into a column chart.) To switch between chart types, click the Chart Type button on the Chart toolbar or choose Chart Type from the Chart menu.
To change the pie chart you created earlier into a column chart by using the Chart toolbar, follow these steps:
Your chart will change shape to match the selected chart type. The following screen shows how your pie chart will look when it's changed into a 3-D column chart.
Choose Additional Chart Sub-Types
For a wider selection of chart types (for example, to change from 3-D view to 2-D view), select the chart, and choose Chart Type from the Chart menu. Here you can pick from over 70 choices in the Chart Sub-Type list boxes for each chart type.
You can edit the text in your chart's titles and labels as well as modify the font, alignment, and background pattern. If you select a data label, you can change its numeric formatting.
To edit title or label text, follow these steps:
Check that you have selected the part of the chart you want to edit by making sure the selection handles indicate the specific object and not the entire chart.
You can check the spelling of the text in a chart by selecting the text object and choosing Spelling from the Tools menu.
To learn more about formatting text, see Chapter 17, "Formatting a Worksheet"
To change a title or label's font, alignment, or pattern, follow these steps:
Figure 21-5. You can format chart titles and labels in the same way as regular worksheet text.
If you're formatting a label, the dialog box will also have a Number tab. We'll discuss this tab in the next example.
If you selected a label in your chart, your dialog box includes a Number tab, as shown in Figure 21-6. The following steps show you how to use the Number tab to adjust the numeric formatting in labels:
To add or change data labels, use the Chart Options command on the Chart menu.
Figure 21-6. The Number tab lets you change the number formatting in chart labels.
If you're creating a column, bar, line, XY (scatter), area, radar, surface, bubble, stock, cylinder, cone, or pyramid chart, you can include gridlines that extend horizontally from the x-axis or vertically from the y-axis. Gridlines help you to associate numbers with the pictures in your chart, and they're especially useful if you need to make exact comparisons between categories of data.
To add gridlines to your chart, follow these steps:
You can also remove gridlines by clicking the gridlines in your chart and pressing Delete.
Figure 21-7. The check boxes on the Gridlines tab determine which gridlines appear.
A chart legend describes what each color or pattern represents in a chart so that you can compare the values in a category. Excel lets you change the font, colors, and location of an existing chart legend by using a special dialog box full of formatting tabs. You can add a legend to a chart when you first build the chart using the Chart Wizard (step 3), or later by clicking the Legend button on the Chart toolbar. Because the Legend button is an on or off toggle, you can add or remove a chart legend quickly, to see whether you like it. If you remove the chart legend, you'll have more room on your chart for graphing the data.
To modify a chart legend's font, colors, or location, follow these steps:
To quickly format the text in a chart legend, you can also use the Font, Font Size, Bold, Italic, and Underline buttons on the toolbar.
Figure 21-8. To customize the chart's legend, use the Selected Legend command.
Changing the Viewing Angle in 3-D Charts
Excel offers you three-dimensional chart types in the Area, Bar, Column, Line, Pie, Radar, Surface, Cylinder, Cone, and Pyramid categories. Three-dimensional charts have much in common with two-dimensional charts, but they add a feeling of depth that contributes realism and visual interest to your data. You can change the orientation, or viewing angle, of a 3-D chart by selecting the chart and choosing 3-D View from the Chart menu. To tilt the chart up or back, click the large up or down buttons in the 3-D View dialog box above the Elevation text box. To rotate the chart left or right, click the clockwise or counterclockwise buttons beneath the chart preview window. You can also change the perspective or line-of-sight angle by clicking the up or down buttons above the Perspective text box after you type a value. (However, these settings are only available for 3-D charts.)