In spite of the huge assortment of charts , you don't have to limit yourself to the chart types that Excel provides. You can customize virtually any part of the chart, including adding a background image.
Consider the rather simple-looking chart in Figure 10.7. When the user created this chart, she added a chart title and titles for the x- and y-axis descriptions as well. Nevertheless, the chart is lacking in style. It has no personality. It might be fully functional, but if the suser wants to use it for a presentation, she might want to pretty it up somewhat.
Figure 10.7. Your chart can contain chart titles that you specify.
To Do: Add a Background Picture to Your Chart
To add a background picture, you only need to follow these simple steps:
Click the chart to display the chart's resizing handles. Increase the size of the chart area by dragging the resizing handles outward.
Click the plot area to display its resizing handles and return the plot area to its original size. Move any titles and legend labels back to their places around the graph. You have now added some whitespace inside the graph's area where you can place a picture.
Click the Formatting toolbar's (not the Chart toolbar's) Fill Color down arrow to open the Fill Color palette. Make sure that you have the chart area selected and not a label or a title.
You could simply select a color and that color would fill the area around your graph. If you'd rather not use a simple color, you can fill your chart's background with a picture by clicking the Fill Color palette's Fill Effects to open the dialog box shown in Figure 10.8. Using the Fill Effects dialog box, you can select many different interesting fills for your chart, such as the Variants area, which gradually changes one color to another.
Figure 10.8. You can create a customized chart using the Fill Effects dialog box.
Click the Fill Effects dialog box's Picture tab.
Click the Select Picture button and locate a picture on your disk to use as the background of your chart. Depending on how the picture mingles with your legend and graph titles, you might need to reformat the color and font size of those so they appear on top of the picture. Figure 10.9 shows the dramatic difference that a background picture can make as opposed to a chart by itself.
Figure 10.9. A background picture makes a dramatic difference in your chart's presentation.
Use the Chart Toolbar
When you work with charts, the Chart toolbar comes in handy. If you don't see the Chart toolbar, select View, Toolbars, Chart. From the Chart toolbar, you can select any element in your chart from the Chart Objects drop-down list box. You can then change any property about that chart object. Here's how: Click the Properties button to display a Properties dialog box with options that control the look of the object.
The remaining toolbar buttons come in handy when you need to modify the chart. Perhaps the most commonly used are the Chart Type and the Legend buttons that allow you to change the chart's type and show or hide the legend.