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Creating Charts and Graphics in Microsoft Excel 2013

Customizing the appearance of charts

If you want to change a chart’s appearance, select the chart and then click the Chart Styles button, which appears in a group of three buttons. These buttons, which are new in Excel 2013, put chart formatting and data controls within easy reach of your chart.

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The Chart Styles gallery has two tabs: Style and Color. You can select a new look for you chart by choosing from the many styles on the Style.

Clicking the Color tab in the Chart Styles gallery displays a series of color schemes that you can select to change your chart’s appearance.

When you create a chart by using the tools in the Charts group on the Insert tab, Excel creates an attractive chart that focuses on the data. In most cases, the chart has a title, legend (list of data series displayed in the chart), horizontal lines in the body of the chart to make it easier to discern individual values, and axis labels. If you want to create a chart that has more or different elements, such as additional data labels for each data point plotted on your chart, you can do so by selecting the chart and then, on the Design tab, in the Chart Layouts group, clicking Quick Layouts and then clicking the layout you want.

If you don’t find the exact chart layout you want, you can select the chart and then click the Chart Elements action button, which appears to the right of the chart, to control each element’s appearance and options.

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By selecting the Gridlines check box, you can determine whether the chart displays horizontal and vertical gridlines.

In addition to changing your chart’s layout, you can control the appearance of each element within the chart. To select a chart element to format, click that element. For example, if you want to change the formatting of the data series named Volume in the column chart you created in the previous exercise, you can click any column in the series to select the entire series. Any formatting changes you make then apply to every point in the entire series. If you want to change a single data point, select the entire series, and then click the chart element (for example, a column) that represents the data point that you want to change. For example, you can highlight the column that represents the year 2011 in the chart you created in the previous exercise.

You can display a list of the selectable chart elements by selecting the chart and then, on the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, clicking the Chart Elements arrow. Then click the desired chart element to select it.

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After you select the chart element, you can drag one of the element’s handles to resize the element or drag the element to another location within the chart. To change the chart element’s format, use the tools and dialog box launchers in the Shape Styles, Word Art Styles, Arrange, and Size groups on the Format tab to change the element’s appearance. You can also select the chart element and then, on the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, click Format Selection to display a Format pane that you can use to change the chart element’s appearance.

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You can also display a similar set of formatting controls for a chart element by clicking the Chart Elements action button, pointing to the name of the element you want to change, clicking the right-pointing triangle that appears, and then clicking More Options. Doing so displays the pane related to that element.

With the third action button, Chart Filters, you can focus on specific data in your chart. Clicking the Chart Filters action button displays a filter interface that is very similar to that used to limit the data displayed in an Excel table.

Selecting or clearing a check box displays or hides data related to a specific value within a series, which you can select as well.

If you think you want to apply the same set of changes to charts you’ll create in the future, you can save your chart as a chart template. When you select the data that you want to summarize visually and apply the chart template, you’ll create consistently formatted charts in a minimum of steps. To save a chart as a chart template, right-click the chart and then click Save As Template. Use the controls in the dialog box that opens to name and save your template. Then, to create a chart based on that template, select the data that you want to summarize and on the Insert tab, in the Charts group, click the dialog box launcher in the lower-right corner of the group to open the Insert Chart dialog box. On the All Charts tab, click Templates, click the template you want to use, and then click OK.

In this exercise, you’ll change a chart’s layout, apply a new Chart Style, change the number format of the values on the vertical axis, save the chart as a chart template, and apply the template to another chart.

  1. On the Presentation worksheet, select the chart.

  2. On the Design tab, in the Chart Layouts group, click Quick Layouts, and then click the first chart layout Layout 1.

  3. To the right of the chart, click the Chart Styles action button to display the Chart Styles gallery.

  4. Click Style 7 to change the chart’s style.

  5. Click the Chart Styles action button to hide the Chart Styles gallery.

  6. Click the Chart Elements action button, point to the Axes entry, click the right-pointing triangle that appears, and then click More Options to display the Format Axis pane.

  7. In the pane, click Axis Options, and then click Vertical (Value) Axis.

  8. Click Number to display the Number options in the Format Axis pane.

  9. In the Category list, click Number to display the Number category’s style options.

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  10. In the Decimal places field, enter 0.

  11. If necessary, select the Use 1000 Separator (,) check box.

  12. Click the pane’s Close button. Excel closes the pane and updates the chart’s appearance.

  13. Right-click the chart and then click Save As Template to open the Save Chart Template dialog box.

  14. In the File name field, enter Cool Blue.

  15. Click Save to save your template.

  16. On the tab bar, click the Yearly Summary sheet tab to display the Yearly Summary worksheet.

  17. Select the chart and then, on the Design tab, in the Type group, click Change Chart Type to open the Change Chart Type dialog box.

  18. Click Templates to display the My Templates list.

  19. Click the Cool Blue custom template, and then click OK to apply the template to your chart.