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In Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training, author Curt Frye gives a comprehensive overview of Excel, the full-featured spreadsheet software from Microsoft. The course covers key skills such as manipulating workbook and cell data, using functions, automating actions, printing worksheets, and collaborating with others. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you create a chart, Excel applies attractive but somewhat neutral formatting to it. You can change that formatting, either all at once by selecting New chart style or by formatting individual chart elements. The first way that you can change a chart's appearance is by changing its style. To do that, you click the chart, and then on the Charts tab at the Ribbon you can go to the Chart Styles gallery here at the right side. You can display all the styles available by hovering your mouse pointer over the in-Ribbon part of the gallery and then clicking the Expand button.
Once there, you can select a style that you like. I will go for one with a little bit more red and that has a 3-dimensional effect to it. If you want to format an individual chart element, you can do that as well. The easiest way to format a chart element is if it contains text, and if that's the case, for example here, with the title of Sales, you can simply select it and then on the Home tab at the Ribbon, you can use these controls to change that text's formatting. So, for example, if I wanted to change the font color to bright blue, I could do that, and then when I click away, I release this selection, and that element takes on the formatting that I applied to it.
If you want to format another chart element, you can do so by clicking it. Let's say, for example, I wanted to format the Mandarin bar here in the chart. If I click it, you will see that I actually selected the entire data series. See this little handles or markers on the corners; that indicates that those columns bar have been selected. If I want to select a particular column, I need to click it again, and Excel released the other selections. You will notice that the little circles that were on their corners are gone, but they have remained here.
That means that I can now format this chart element by itself. So to do that, I can go up to the Format contextual tab - I am on the Charts tab - and then click Format to display the contextual tab. Now I can change the Mandarin bar's color. So, for example, if I wanted to change its fill, I can click here and select another value. It's Mandarin, so I will make it an orange. So now Mandarin stands apart from the other data for Lemon, Rosemary, and Jalapeno.
If you are not certain which chart elements you can select, you can go to the Format contextual tab, after clicking the chart, and then over here in Current Selection you can click the Chart Element down arrow and select an area. So, for example, if you wanted to select the legend, which is over here on the right, you can do so, and then to format it, you can click the Format Selection button. I won't actually change any formatting here, but in this case, you could change its placement, you can change the font, you can change the fill color, and these are all techniques that you have seen throughout this course.
So I will click Cancel. You are not limited to the legend or any particular chart elements. Every chart element that is available for formatting you can select through those chart element list box and then click Format Selection to display the formatting tools you can use for it. Let's say that you have created a chart layout and formatting that you like, and you want to save it as a template to apply to other charts; just like we did earlier when we apply the chart style, you can create your own chart styles. To do that, you click the Charts tab on the Ribbon, the main Charts tab, and then you click the Other button, and at the bottom is the option Save as Template.
When you click that, you get the Save Chart Template dialog. You can type in the name of your chart. I will just leave it as My Chart. You can change it to anything you like. And I will click Save. So I have saved this chart as a chart template, its formatting and layout. If I want to apply it to another chart, I can do so by going to the Charts tab of the Ribbon, clicking Other, and then at the bottom of the Chart Types window, we have my template, which is called My Chart.
I don't want to apply at this time, so I will press Escape to close the window. Formatting charts can be as simple as clicking a new style, or as complex as changing each element by hand. Regardless of how you arrive at a finished design, if you want to apply it to other charts, you can do so by saving it as a template.
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