17.2. Basic Tasks with Charts
Unlike the orderly rows of numbers and labels that fill most worksheets, charts float above your data, locked inside special box-like containers. To take advantage of these chart boxes, you need to understand a little more about how they work.
17.2.1. Moving and Resizing a Chart
When you insert a chart into an existing worksheet, it becomes a floating object, hovering above your worksheet. Depending on where Excel puts it, it may temporarily obscure your data. The chart box doesn't damage your data in any way, but it can end up hiding your worksheet's numbers and text (both onscreen and in your printouts).
You have to learn to grab hold of these floating boxes and place them where you really want them. The process is pretty straightforward:
Note: You can resize a chart in another, slightly more circuitous way. You can set the Height and Width boxes in the Chart Tools Format Size section of the ribbon. Although this isnt as quick as dragging the chart edge, it lets you set the size exactly, which is indispensable if you have several charts on the same worksheet and you need to make sure they're all the same size.
17.2.2. Creating a Standalone Chart
Even without your input, Excel usually makes common-sense choices, so you can often build a chart without needing to tweak any of these options.
You have two options for placing charts in a workbook. You can create an embedded chart, which appears in an existing worksheet (usually next to the appropriate data), or you can create a standalone chart, which appears in a new worksheet of its own (Figure 17-6).
Ordinarily, when you pick a chart type from the ribbon, Excel creates an embedded chart. However, you can easily switch your chart over to a new worksheet if you're running out of roomjust follow these steps:
Note: You can move or resize only embedded chartsthe ones that appear in floating boxes inside other worksheets. If you've created a standalone chart, you can't move or resize it. Instead, it automatically shrinks or enlarges itself to match the Excel window's display area.
17.2.3. Editing and Adding to Chart Data
Every chart remains linked to the source data you used to create it. When you alter the data in your worksheet, Excel refreshes the chart with the new information automatically. As long as Excel is set to automatic recalculations (and it almost always is), there's no such thing as an out-of-date chart. (Section 13.5 has more about changing Excel's calculation mode.)
Note: Excel's got no restriction on linking multiple charts to the same data. So, you can create two different types of charts (like a pie and a column chart) that show the same data. You can even create one chart that plots all the data and another chart that just uses a portion of the same information.
However, there's one tricky point. Any range you define for use in a chart is static , which means it doesn't grow as your data grows. That means that if you add a new row at the bottom of the range, it doesn't appear on the chart because it's outside of the chart range.
If you do want to insert additional data to a range of data used in a chart, you have several options:
Excel is smart enough to adjust your chart range in some situations. If you drag your chart data to a new place on your worksheet, Excel updates the chart to match automatically.
17.2.4. Changing the Chart Type
When you create a chart, you choose a specific chart type (Section 17.1.2). However, in many situations you may want to try several different chart types with the same data to see which visualization tells your story better. Excel makes this sort of experimentation easy. All you need to do is click your chart to select it, and then make a different choice from the ribbon's Insert Charts section. You can use this technique to transform a column chart into a pie chart.
You can also choose Chart Tools Design Type Change Chart Type to make a choice from the Change Chart Type dialog box, which looks just like the Insert Chart dialog box shown in Figure 17-3.
17.2.5. Printing Charts
How you print a chart depends on the type of chart you've created. You can print embedded charts either with worksheet data or on their own. Standalone charts, which occupy separate worksheets, always print on separate pages.
18.104.22.168. Embedded charts
You can print embedded charts in two ways. The first approach is to print your worksheet exactly as it appears on the screen, with a mix of data and floating charts. In this case, you'll need to take special care to make sure your charts aren't positioned over any data you need to read in the printout. To double-check , use Page Layout view (choose View Workbook Views Page Layout View).
You could also print out the embedded chart on a separate page, which is surprisingly easy. Just click the chart to select it, and then choose Office Button Print (or Office Button Print Print Preview to see what itll look like). When you do so, Excel's standard choice is to print your chart using landscape orientation, so that the long edge of the page is along the bottom, and the chart's wider than it is tall. Landscape is usually the best way to align a chart, especially if it holds a large amount of data, so Excel automatically uses landscape orientation no matter what page orientation you've configured for your worksheet. If you want to change the chart orientation, select the chart, then choose Page Layout Page Setup Orientation Portrait. Now your chart uses upright alignment, just as you may see in a portrait-style painting.
Note: If you select an orientation from the Page Layout Page Setup Orientation list while your chart is selected, you don't end up configuring the orientation for the worksheet itself. Instead you configure the embedded chart's orientation when you print it out on a separate page. If you want to configure the orientation for the whole worksheet, make sure nothing else is selected when you choose an orientation.
Excel also includes some page setup options that are specific to charts. To see these options, head to the Page Layout Page Setup section, click the dialog launcher in the bottom-right corner to show the Page Setup dialog box, and then choose the Chart tab (which appears only when youve got a chart currently selected). You'll see an option to print a chart using lower print quality ("Draft quality"), and in black and white instead of color ("Print in black and white").
22.214.171.124. Standalone charts
If you're using a standalone chart, your chart always prints out on a separate page, sized to fit the whole page. To print out just the chart page alone (rather than the whole workbook), switch to the chart's worksheet, and then choose Office Button Print. To print out the entire workbookwhich prints your data worksheet and chart worksheet on different pageslook in the "Print what section and select the "Entire workbook" option.
Excel automatically sets all chart worksheets to Landscape orientation, which orients the page so that the long edge runs horizontally across the bottom. If this layout isn't what you want, before you print the chart, choose Page Layout Page Setup Orientation Portrait. Remember, if youre still not sure how your printout will look, you can always use the handy Page Layout View to see a sneak preview. For more information about printing Excel files, see Chapter 7.