Formatting a Chart

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.

Exploring the Chart Menu

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

Using the Charting Toolbar

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.

click to view at full size.

Figure 21-4. The Chart toolbar appears when a chart is active in the workbook. To remove it, click the Close button.

Changing the Chart Type

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:

  1. If the chart is embedded, click it to select it, and click the Chart toolbar. If the chart appears in its own worksheet, simply display the worksheet.
  2. Click the arrow on the Chart Type button on the Chart toolbar to display pictures of the various chart types.
  3. Click the 3-D Column Chart button. (When you move the pointer over each chart type, its name will appear.)

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.

click to view at full size.

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.

Changing Titles and Labels

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:

  1. Display the chart that you want to modify. If the chart is embedded in a worksheet, click the chart to activate it and to display Excel's charting commands and tools.
    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.

  • Use the Zoom control to zoom in on the title or label so that you can read it, if necessary. The best view for editing text is usually 100%.
  • Click the title or label in the chart. Selection handles will surround the text.
  • Click again to insert the text pointer at the spot you want to edit. You can insert new text and use the Backspace and Delete keys to delete unwanted text.
  • TIP
    You can check the spelling of the text in a chart by selecting the text object and choosing Spelling from the Tools menu.

  • When you have completed your edits, press the Escape key once to remove the text insertion marker, and then press Escape a second time to remove the selection handles. (You can also click outside the chart to remove the selection handles.)
  • Changing Character Formatting

    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:

    1. Click the chart title or a label. Selection handles will appear around the text.
    2. From the Format menu, choose Selected Chart Title (for a title) or Selected Data Labels (for a label). Only one of the commands will be available. You'll see a dialog box similar to the one shown in Figure 21-5.
    3. 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.

  • Use the Patterns, Font, and Alignment tabs to modify the borders or colors, adjust the character formatting in the text, or adjust the text orientation. For example, if you plan to print your chart, you might want to increase the point size of the text using the Font tab.
  • When you have finished formatting the text, click OK.
  • Adjusting Numeric Formatting in Labels

    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:

    1. Click one or more labels that contain numeric data such as percentages or dollar amounts. (To select more than one label, hold down the Shift key while clicking.) You can also select numeric values associated with the intersection of the gridlines or the axis of the chart.
    2. TIP
      To add or change data labels, use the Chart Options command on the Chart menu.

    3. Choose Selected Data Labels from the Format menu. (If you selected an axis, choose the Selected Axis command.)
    4. Figure 21-6. The Number tab lets you change the number formatting in chart labels.

    5. Click the Number tab of the Format dialog box. Your screen will look like the one shown in Figure 21-6. (If you're formatting an axis, the dialog box will also have a Scale tab, which you can use to adjust the numbers and tick marks along the x-axis and y-axis.)
    6. Click the numeric category that you want to use, and specify a new number of decimal places if necessary. For example, if your labels are in the Currency format, you might want to set the decimal places to zero to remove cents and to make more room on your chart.
    7. When you have finished formatting, click OK.

    Adjusting Gridlines

    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:

    1. Display the chart. If your chart is embedded in a worksheet, click the chart to activate Excel's charting commands and tools.
    2. Choose Chart Options from the Chart menu to display the Chart Options dialog box, and then click the Gridlines tab. (See Figure 21-7.)
    3. To add gridlines to both axes, select both Major Gridlines check boxes. If you want to create a denser pattern of gridlines, select the Minor Gridlines check boxes also.
    4. Click OK to add the gridlines. To remove the gridlines, simply remove all the check marks from the Gridlines check boxes and click OK.

    You can also remove gridlines by clicking the gridlines in your chart and pressing Delete.

    click to view at full size.

    Figure 21-7. The check boxes on the Gridlines tab determine which gridlines appear.

    Modifying the Chart Legend

    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:

    1. Display the chart and click the legend, which will then be surrounded by selection handles.
    2. From the Format menu, choose Selected Legend to display the Format Legend dialog box, as shown in Figure 21-8. The dialog box contains three tabs, which let you control the border, colors, and patterns used for the legend box; the font used for the legend text; and the location of the legend in relation to the chart.
    3. Use the Patterns, Font, and Placement tabs to customize the legend. When you have finished, click OK.

    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.)

    Running Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business
    Running Microsoft Office 2000
    ISBN: 1572319585
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2005
    Pages: 228
    Authors: Michael Halvorson, Michael J. Young
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