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Tips & tricks for better looking Charts in Excel
Return to Book Page. Microsoft Office Excel by Denise Etheridge. You already know Excel Now you'd like to go beyond with shortcuts, tricks, and tips that let you work smarter and faster. And because you learn more easily when someone shows you how, this is the book for you. Inside, you'll find clear, illustrated instructions for tasks that reveal cool secrets, teach timesaving tricks, and explain great tips guaranteedto make y You already know Excel Inside, you'll find clear, illustrated instructions for tasks that reveal cool secrets, teach timesaving tricks, and explain great tips guaranteedto make you more productive with Excel Look for these symbols marking the difficulty of each task.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Microsoft Office Excel , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Microsoft Office Excel Lists with This Book. While the charts look better, not all the options you can use to make them more functional are immediately apparent. In this post I'll show you some handy tips, tricks and techniques for creating charts in Excel that will help you get your work done more effectively.
New to Microsoft Office is the ability to use grayscale pattern fills for your chart. For a monochrome chart set the foreground color to black and the background color to white and select a fill pattern for the series. Repeat this this for the second series choosing a different pattern.
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You don't have to use black and white as your colors just choose different patterns to ensure the charts can be understood when printed on a monochromatic printer or photocopied in black and white. You can fill a chart with a pattern in Excel so it can be printed on a monochrome printer or photocopied in black and white. You can save a chart as a picture from inside Excel so you can use it elsewhere such as in a report or on the web.
To do this you will use a workaround and the simplest way to do it is to size the chart on the worksheet so it is a good size. This converts the worksheet to an html file and because html files cannot contain images the chart is saved separately and linked to the html file. You can find your chart in the folder that you saved the html file into. So, if your file was called sales. The image is saved as a standalone PNG file. Of course, you'll also need to save your Excel worksheet if you want to save the data and chart to work on in Excel in future.
If you think your chart would look better if the columns were wider or if they overlapped you can do this. To adjust the overlap between two chart series or to change the spacing between columns , right click any series on the chart and choose Format Data Series. Use the Series Overlap option to spread the series apart by dragging towards Separated or Overlap the series by dragging towards Overlapped.
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You can adjust the Gap Width to move the series closer together or further apart. If you have two chart series that you want to overlap and if the smaller series ends up behind the larger one you will need to change the chart plot order. First set the overlap so they overlap as you want them to do. Then right click the data series you can see and choose Select Data. Click on Series 1 and select the Move Down button to place it behind Series 2. This changes the order that they are plotted in so you can see the smaller data in front of the larger data. When you are plotting date-based data, you may find that the bars in your chart are very narrow.
The solution for this is to click the Excel chart's X axis, right click and choose Format Axis. Select Axis Options and then click on Text Axis to select it. This changes the way the axis is plotted giving wider bars. You can then adjust the gap width if necessary to make them wider. When you are plotting very small data such as percentages against much larger data like millions the percentages will get lost and will not be visible.
You can solve the problem by plotting the percentages against a different axis.
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Click Format Selection which appears immediately below this and from the series option group, select Secondary Axis and click Close. You can now select a different chart type such as line. Because you have a series selected that will applied to only that series not the entire chart so you will end up with a combination chart with for example a column chart with a line chart over the top. I like the text on the chart axis to match the color of the relevant part of the chart that that relates to.
So if I have green bars I'll type green text on the axis relating to that and a red line will have a red font on its axis.
Microsoft Excel does not make it clear that you can create combination charts; however it's easily possible to do so. To do this, select the data and plot the first chart type such as a column chart. Some types cannot be combined sensibly such as bar and column but a line and column chart work well together. If you have data that is going to grow over time you can create your chart so that it will get bigger as more data is added into your data store. To do this, format your data as a table by selecting the data and from the Home Tab on the ribbon, choose Format as Table.
Now because your data is formatted as a table if you base your chart on the table data, adding more data to the table will grow the chart automatically. You can have the chart title lift its contents from a cell on the worksheet. Click in the box for the chart title then click on the formula bar on the ribbon and type the cell reference of the cell containing the data to place as the chart title.
If you need to preface it with the sheet name so D5 on sheet 1 should read blank. Now whenever the contents of that cell are changed so too will the chart title change. When you have a chart that plots only one data range, you will find that Excel colors every bar the same color. You can change this by clicking on the series, right click and choose Format Data Series and then Fill. If only one series is included in the chart then an option Vary colors by point will be selectable.
Of course, you can always click an individual series to select it, right click and choose Format Data Point and then set a specific color for that data point. Here you can select whether empty cells are shown as gaps, zero or if the chart is a line chart whether the data point should be connected with a line. Click Ok when you've made your choice. To chart data that is not lined up in columns side by side use the Excel shortcut of holding the Ctrl key as you select each data range.
Once the ranges are selected, go ahead and create your chart from the selected data. To save a chart as a template so that you can reuse it over and over again first create the chart making it look the way you want it to look. Type a name for the chart and click Save. You can later apply this format to another chart by using it when you create the chart or an existing chart to look like the one you have created.
These charting tips and tricks will get you started creating better looking charts faster and more effectively in Excel and Hi Does anyone know how to change actually reduce the distance of the axes and the text associated with the axes? I'm using office X for Mac. The distance seems fixed to 0. No possibility to modify this number. Thanks for the tip. I am Creating a simple bar graph and can not figure out how to get rid of the blank areas between the data on the x-axis.
The data is being pulled from a cell which has been merged so I am assuming that it is spacing for the second cell in the merge. Any ideas? My basic problem is that I don't want a gap or a zero. I want the merge cell to appear as one cell for data. Suzanne, could you please send an e-mail to support ablebits. Hi, Is it possible in Excel to change a Excel chart from a picture to a working graph?
Here is the example: I was sent an Excel spreadsheet and the was sent as a picture, can I change it back to a working Excel sheet; where I can manipulate the data and change it for my task? Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is no way to fullfill this task. We wish we could help you better. How do I create a line graph with two values on the same data point?
How can I change the lines of an Excel chart ? I am trying to use the pattern fill for lines but I cant. I can do it only for shapes and columes. Please help me! I have found an excel chart of previous version with lines with patterns style dots black and white but I cant do it at version ! I'm trying to find out if any version of excel supports the ability to use an image as a continuous fill within a chart.
Currently I'm able to fill bars using a library image, but it reproduces the image in each bar. I can do it by exporting a graph to a graphics package and editing there but wonder if there's a quick way to reproduce the effect within Excel. Hi, When I create an xy chart in Excel I start by selecting a header row followed by N data values in 2 or more columns.
Why does Excel always ignore the name found in the X header? Is there anyway that Excel will make use of this value? I would like to display it as the title or as the name of the axis when I use the chart as a template. I am well aware I can type in a cell reference to it, but this time consuming when I create alot fof charts. I can't believe the geniuses at Microsoft never thought of this use case which anyone who wants to make a lot of xy charts will want to do.
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When am trying to add secondary axis, The series Opetion is greyed and not allowing to amend from Primary to Secondary. Am using MS The older versions of Excel allowed you to color a line in a graph with a pattern instead of just straight colors. The Gradient Line in Excel only has preset colors and patterns and none of the ones I've used in the past! How do I get my graph to look like yours? I have a graph with two axis and would like to know how you give your "purple and orange" graph the texture that looks alomst 3d.