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Create Compelling SmartArt Diagrams and Charts in Microsoft Word 2010

Formatting Charts

Word gives you the ability to format all the different elements included in your chart. You might want to change the font of a title, resize the labels, change the background color, change the line thickness, apply a pattern, or perform any number of other tricks—including adding drop shadows, glow effects, or 3-D enhancements.

To choose the chart object you want to work with, click the chart, choose the Layout tab on the Chart Tools, and then click the Chart Elements arrow in the Current Selection group. A list of possible objects appears, as shown in Figure 16-20. When you click your choice, Word selects that item in the chart. You can then right-click the item to display a format choice—for example, right-clicking a legend displays a shortcut menu including the Format Legend command. When you select that command, a formatting dialog box appears in which you can select the colors, styles, and placement for the legend.

Figure 16-20

Figure 16-20 Use the Chart Elements list to select the chart element you want to change.

The formatting commands available vary depending on the type of chart you’re creating and the chart element you’ve selected. You’ll see a different set of options, for example, when you right-click a chart axis than you will when you right-click the legend.

Changing the Format of Your Chart Elements

Word includes a Ribbon full of formatting choices that enable you to add color and texture to the shapes of the elements in your chart. Additionally, you can use the Format options to apply special effects to your text by changing color, adding mirroring, shadowing, glow effects, and more. Here are a few possibilities to consider as you think about the ways you want to enhance your chart.

  • Do you want a border around your chart? If so, what kind? You make those choices on the Format tab of the Chart Tools.

  • Do you want to choose a different color or line thickness for the border of your chart? Look in the Shape Styles group on the Format tab for the choices you need.

  • Would you like to add a drop shadow to the chart? Click the Shape Effects down arrow, point to Shadow, and then choose the style you want.

  • Do you want to apply a special text effect to your title or axes titles? Choose a WordArt style that reflects the way you want the text in your chart to appear.

You can change each of these items by first selecting the chart you want to change and then by selecting the Format tab on the Chart Tools. Figure 16-21 shows the commands that are available when the Format tab is selected.

Figure 16-21

Figure 16-21 The Format tab includes tools for changing colors, shapes, shadows, and more in your charts.

Formatting Shapes

Word provides you with an almost unlimited number of ways to enhance charts in your documents. One way you can make a big visual difference is by applying formats to the shapes that make up the chart. For example, consider the chart title in Figure 16-22. The 3-D style applied to the title is one of many available in the Shape Styles gallery (on the Chart Tools Format tab).

Figure 16-22

Figure 16-22 You can add special styles to the shapes in your chart by using the Shape Styles gallery.

Begin by selecting the object in your chart that you want to change. Anything that you can click qualifies—you can change the title, the label area, the individual data series, the axes, and more. When you select an element, Word automatically updates the Shape Styles to show the styles available for that chart element. You can click the More button to see the entire gallery of styles available for the selected element. Click your selection to apply it to the chart.

Adding Shadows, Glows, and More

You can make further changes to the shape you’ve selected using the additional choices in the Shape Styles group on the Format tab.

  • Shape Fill This option displays a palette in which you can change the color, gradient, pattern, or texture of the selected shape.

  • Shape Outline This choice includes color selections as well as line width and style choices that change the outline of the shape.

  • Shape Effects Select Shape Effects to display a gallery of style choices with which you can add shadows, make the shape glow, soften the edges, rotate the shape in 3-D, and much more (see Figure 16-23).

Figure 16-23

Figure 16-23 The Shape Effects gallery gives you options to dramatically change the look of shapes in your chart.