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Charts, including PivotCharts, summarize data visually. So you should pay careful attention to the appearance of your chart and the elements it contains. If your organization mandates which color schemes you need to use for external or internal documents, you should also ensure your PivotCharts conform to those production standards. If you want to change the look of your PivotChart, then first you should click the PivotChart so that it's active and then you can make a number of changes. If you want to change your PivotChart's chart style, you can do that by clicking the Design contextual tab and then clicking the More button in the Chart Styles gallery and then selecting the style that you want to apply.
In this case, I will select the Style here, which is called Style 42. When I click it, Excel updates the formatting of the PivotChart. You can also format individual chart elements. So let's say for example that I want to change the formatting of the title, which is Revenue. I move my mouse pointer over that element and when I do, Excel displays the Chart Title screentip indicating that I'm currently hovering over that item and when I click it, it's selected and then I can go to the Format contextual tab, and then use the controls to change the formatting of this particular item.
So for example, I can make it a WordArt style by clicking the Styles gallery's More button and then selecting one of the existing styles, and I will select the Fill - White with a Drop Shadow. If you want, you can also select a chart element using the Chart Elements list. To do that you go to the Format contextual tab and then in the Current Selection area click the Chart Elements box's down arrow, and select the item you want. In this case I'll click the chart area.
Now to change the formatting of the chart area I can use the controls again on the Format contextual tab. And in this case I will change the Shape Style so that it has a red border and a white interior. With that in place, I'll click the style to apply it. Now let's say that you want to format a single data point within your chart, so let's say that I want to format this column, which is for FirmB 2009 April. The first thing I'll do is click the element once. Doing so selects all of the data within that data series.
If I click it again, then Excel selects that item by itself and I can change its formatting. So let's say that I want to change the color of the fill. To do that I can click the Shape Fill button and then select a new color and in this case I will make it yellow. Now one thing you should note is that like other formatting elements the colors you've selected might be affected if you apply a different Office theme to your document. So for example, the color that I selected was yellow and if I reopen the Shape Fill palette, you'll see that yellow is in the Standard Colors area.
That means that it won't be affected if I change the Office theme. If I'd selected one of the colors from the Theme Colors area, then it would change. So let me show you what happens when I change the Office theme for this workbook. To do that, I go to the Page Layout tab, click the Themes button, and then select the new theme that I want, and in this case I'll call it Equity. You can see that the rest of the data columns have changed, but the yellow has not. Formatting PivotChart elements helps communicate important trends clearly.
Whether you use formatting to provide an overall look and feel or to call out individual data points, you should take the time to experiment with different formatting options and see which works the best for you and your audience.
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