Video: Format charts

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To customize the looks of your chart, use Excel’s formatting options to change the title, layout, chart style and theme color.

Create a Chart

  1. Select a range of cells.

  2. Select Insert > Recommended Charts.

  3. Select Recommended Charts, and then select a chart of your choice.

  4. Select OK.

    A chart consists of various sections such as the Chart Title, Plot Area, Vertical (Value) Axis Title, Horizontal (Category) Axis Title, and Legends.

Add a chart title

  1. Select Chart Title and type a title.
    Or, to pick up the title from data in a cell, select the Chart Title, type = cell (for example, =D1) in the formula bar, and press ENTER.

  2. To format the title, use the Font options on the Home tab to:

    • Select a Font and Font Size

    • Make the font Bold, Italic, or Underline

    • Change the Font Color:

      Note:  You can use these options to format the Axis Titles as well.

Change the chart layout

  1. Select the chart.

  2. Under Chart Tools, select Design > Quick Layout.

  3. Hover over the options to see a preview, then select a layout.
    Quick Layout

Change the chart style

  1. SelectDesign and select the drop-down arrow to see all the options.

  2. Select a chart style.
    Chart Styles

Select a theme style to add color

  1. In the chart, select the Plot Area, the inner area that shows the plotted data.

  2. Under Chart Tools, select Format.

  3. Select a Theme Styles.
    Theme Styles
    The selected style will be applied to the Plot Area.

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Change the color or style of a chart in Office 2016

Create a chart with recommended charts

Edit the contents of a title or data label on the chart

I can create a chart quickly with alt F1, or if I want a chart on a separate sheet, the F11 key, or going by way of the Insert tab in the ribbon.

I can go to recommended charts, possibly pick one of the other buttons in the background.

Focus on the chart type I want, possibly this one.

I like that best, click OK. Got a chart.

We've got a legend, either on the right side or below it.

It explains what the colors stand for.

Beneath each cluster of columns, we see a region name. That works fine.

Chart title is not something we want to keep.

We might want to explain the numbers down the left-hand side.

So, what's missing here? You could make the case for saying just two things: a main title on top, title down the left-hand side.

One approach is click Chart Title, type in whatever we want.

That's easy to do. You can also pick up data from the worksheet if appropriate.

I'm going to drag the chart from the upper right corner downward a bit.

I want the chart title to pick up data from cell D1.

So I'll click Chart Title, and all I need to do here is to type =, click cell D1, and enter. There's the title.

If I want to do a little bit of formatting, I could jump over to the Home tab. It could be bold.

Maybe italics, some cases, sometimes not. I can change the background, but let's just focus on the idea of we quickly created the title simply by typing =, clicking on a cell that has the data we want for the title, and there it is.

Now, title down the left-hand side could be more problematic.

You might want a title on the bottom too, although the legend is down there.

So, what else can we do here?

On the design tab in the ribbon, there's a choice almost buried, it's real tiny, is we slide over quick layout, it says change the overall layout of the chart.

Now, visually, that doesn't give us much attention, whereas this section, right here, does.

I'm going to come back to chart styles, but let's first look at quick layout.

Change the overall layout. That gives us different choices.

If it's a stacked column chart, we see nine choices.

As I'm sliding over these, keep an eye on the chart.

Now, you can begin to see what's happening.

On some of these, we see the legend to the right.

On some of these, we see no grid lines, but we see numbers. Other times, legends on the bottom. We're seeing different layouts.

Over time, you'll probably have a favorite or so. I tend to prefer layout nine.

Let's try this one. Now, everything is still not in place. I might want to make this wider.

But off to the left, I see the phrase: access title.

Now, I don't necessarily have a worksheet entry that I want to pick up this time, so I won't be typing =. I just want this to say: sales in millions.

So, I'll click here and type in: sales in millions.

Now, if I mean millions of dollars, I might say dollars or just $.

As I'm typing this, you see it in the formula bar, you don't see it on the chart.

As I press enter, you will see it, there it is. Title below, maybe I don't need that.

I'll just press delete, or if I do need it, I'll type.

For some people, that's it, that's all you need.

We're finished, we don't need to do anything else. But on the other hand, there are chart styles.

Take a look at this, here's a drop arrow.

As we slide over these, take a look at that chart.

Some of these are real attention-getters, some not so good.

Once again, you're judging. If you're an indecisive person, well, good luck. Lots of choices here.

Sometimes black charts show up better on a projection screen, sometimes not.

I devise against them on printing; they use up a lot of ink, and they don't always display that well on paper, maybe.

Looks pretty good here, though, I think you could say. Lots of choices, maybe we'll go with this one.

This is not changing content, but it is changing, as you can see, the visuals.

And again, someone else could make the judgment, "That's all we need, we're done. "We don't need to do anything else." So, it's easy to do.

On the other hand, let's come back here again.

Change the Style, I'll use a more white background, let's say one of these.

Let's say you like this one. As you move the mouse around the chart, for example, right here, notice the phrase: plot area.

Up here: chart area. You don't need to memorize those terms, but you start to become familiar with them. What's this right here? Well, it's a chart title.

Off to the left, you'll see some information.

Vertical value access title. At different times, you do want to be aware of these.

Now, if you want to make a change, say, to the inner portion of this that's called plot area.

Let's just click in here. We've selected the Plot Area.

We might want to go to the Format tab in the ribbon.

Some choices over here for shape styles.

As I slide over these, you can see, in the background, what's about to happen.

And I think you can see, some of these choices, maybe, are not so great, others might be appealing to you.

I wouldn't say that's a great choice, but not so bad, I'll choose that. I want the outer area, maybe, to be a different color.

There, too, we can go to shape styles. Dark red, maybe? That sure stands out.

How about these?

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