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Create Compelling SmartArt Diagrams and Charts in Microsoft Word 2010

Creating a Basic Chart

The process of creating a chart in Word is simple. First click to position the cursor wherever you want the chart to appear (you can move the chart later if you choose) then follow these steps:

  1. On the Insert tab (on the Ribbon), click Chart in the Illustrations group.

    The Insert Chart dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 16-7.

    Figure 16-7

    Figure 16-7 The Insert Chart dialog box is where you can view and choose the type of chart that meets your needs.

  2. Choose the chart type you want to create by clicking it in the left pane of the Insert Chart dialog box.

    The gallery area on the right shows the various styles available for the chart type you selected. Click OK to create the chart.

    The default chart in the type you selected appears in the document on the left side of the Word window; on the right side of the window, Excel displays a datasheet that includes placeholder data (see Figure 16-8). You can now modify the data so it is relevant to your document.

  3. Click the close box to close the datasheet, and the chart in your document is updated accordingly.

    Figure 16-8

    Figure 16-8 As soon as you create the chart, a datasheet with placeholder data appears. Replace the data with your own, and the chart is updated automatically.

That’s all there is to adding your first chart to a Word document. But now comes the fun part—enhancing the chart with the Word Chart Tools.

Changing the Chart Type

Making sure you have the right chart for the data you’re displaying is an important part of communicating your concepts most effectively. Some charts, such as bar and column charts, are best for comparing data items—for example, tracking the sales of apples compared to oranges. Other charts, such as pie charts, are better for showing the relation of individual items to a whole—such as the fundraising totals of your two top volunteer groups as they compare to total fundraising dollars in August 2010.

Word makes it simple for you to select and change chart types. Start by creating a new chart or by displaying the chart you’ve already created. Click the chart (if necessary) so that the contextual Chart Tools are displayed on the Ribbon. On the Design tab, click Change Chart Type in the Type group (on the far left side of the Ribbon). The Change Chart Type dialog box (which you saw earlier as the Insert Chart dialog box) opens, offering you the range of chart types that were available to you when you initially created the chart. Simply click the chart type you want, click OK, and Word changes the display of the chart in your document and modifies the datasheet if needed.

Creating a Chart Template

Word offers so many ways to enhance the design of your charts that you might want to create your own templates so the charts you create are consistent in all of your documents. If you work for a company that standardizes its published materials, creating and using a custom template gives you the means to make your charts distinctive while keeping them professionally appealing and consistent with your overall brand.

After you’ve created, enhanced, and saved your chart (which you learn how to do on page 506), you can save it as a template. It will then be available to you in the Templates folder that appears in the left pane of the Insert Chart dialog box.

To create a template based on an existing chart, simply select the chart and then select the Design tab in the contextual Chart Tools. In the Type group, click the Save As Template option. In the Save Chart Template dialog box, enter a name for the new chart and click Save (see Figure 16-9). Word saves the chart by default in the Templates folder, making it available to all your other Office applications as well. The next time you open the Insert Chart dialog box, the template you saved will be available in the Chart Templates folder.

Figure 16-9

Figure 16-9 Save a customized chart as a template so that you can use it in other documents you create.

Understanding the Chart Tools

As soon as you create a chart, Word displays the contextual Chart Tools, which offers you a collection of specialized tools you’ll use to design, enhance, format, and save the chart you create (see Figure 16-10).

Figure 16-10

Figure 16-10 The contextual Chart Tools enable you to change the design, layout, and format of your chart.

The contextual Chart Tools offer three tabs with different sets of tools for different types of tasks.

  • Design With the Design tab, you can change the type of your chart, work with chart data, select a chart layout, and choose the style and color for the chart you want to create.

  • Layout This tab lets you focus on specific chart elements. With the Layout tools, you can add pictures, shapes, and more; add and format labels; modify the axes in the chart; add color, pictures, or 3-D effects to the background; and insert elements like trend lines, markers, and more that help readers analyze the data they are reviewing.

  • Format The Format tab includes tools that let you enhance the look of your chart by choosing the size of shapes on the chart; adding shadows, fills, and outlines; changing the size of the chart; and selecting text wrapping and positioning options.

Throughout the rest of this chapter, you’ll learn more about when to use each of the tabs in Chart Tools to change, enhance, and finalize the charts in your Word documents.