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Microsoft Excel 2003/2004

Formatting Your Chart

Adding formatting to your chart can greatly enhance its overall appearance and clarity. Formatting is also a way to emphasize important areas of your chart. Some useful formatting options include colors, patterns, arrows, text boxes, and font types.

return to topSelecting Chart Elements

The key to formatting a chart in Excel is selecting the correct chart element(s). When you hold your mouse over a certain element, a Screen Tip appears, telling you what element (e.g., gridlines, data series) your mouse is hovering over.

NOTE: For a data series, one click selects the series, and the second click selects a single data point within that series.

  1. Hold your mouse over the desired chart element
    A Screen Tip appears, indicating the type of element.

  2. Windows: Right click the element » select Format (Element Name)...
    Macintosh: Press [control] + click the mouse » select Format (Element Name)...
    OR
    Double click the element
    The Format (Element Name) dialog box appears.

  3. Make the necessary changes

return to topAdjusting Chart Colors and Patterns

Colors and patterns can enhance your chart. If you have a black-and-white printer, you should do a test print to make sure the chart is legible. Using patterns instead of colors can also help enhance the readability of your chart. The patterns should be easily differentiated by the reader of the chart.

  1. Select the appropriate chart

  2. Access the Format dialog box

  3. Make the necessary changes
    NOTE: For more information, refer to Modifying Objects: Coloring Objects or Using the Fill Effects Dialog Box.

return to topAdding Arrows and Text Boxes

To draw attention to specific points on your chart, you can draw arrows to them or add a text box for further description. For more information, refer to Drawing in Office 2003 or Working with Text Boxes.

return to topAdjusting Chart Fonts

Several methods are available for adjusting the type specifications (font, size, and color) of your chart elements. For more information, refer to Formatting Your Worksheets: Formatting Fonts.

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