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Identifying chart elements like plot area, chart area, gridlines, and legends

From: Excel 2007: Charts in Depth

Video: Identifying chart elements like plot area, chart area, gridlines, and legends

When you work with Excel charts you will need to become familiar with certain terms that you might not have seen or heard before. And although it's best not to memorize the various parts of a chart, knowing the names of what are called chart elements will increase the value, not only of this course, but any kind of instruction material related to Excel charts. In this particular worksheet there are a number of charts associated with the data, different ways to display the same data by way of a chart. To the right of the data, a green border chart. I'm going to click on it here, and as I slide the mouse around into this portion of it, you might see here and there words pop up, like Plot Area like we're seeing right now.

Identifying chart elements like plot area, chart area, gridlines, and legends

When you work with Excel charts you will need to become familiar with certain terms that you might not have seen or heard before. And although it's best not to memorize the various parts of a chart, knowing the names of what are called chart elements will increase the value, not only of this course, but any kind of instruction material related to Excel charts. In this particular worksheet there are a number of charts associated with the data, different ways to display the same data by way of a chart. To the right of the data, a green border chart. I'm going to click on it here, and as I slide the mouse around into this portion of it, you might see here and there words pop up, like Plot Area like we're seeing right now.

If I slide upward into the green area, we'll see Chart Area. On all charts we'll see these terms. I'm going to slide the mouse over the box right here. You see the word Legend. You've probably heard that before, and certainly you've see these on maps, a legend that explains what lines mean, what symbols mean. We get use to these terms. And not only where you see some familiar terms like Legend, here's a line here. What's the line? It's a gridline, and to be more precise, a Vertical Axis Major Gridline That suggests there might be Minor Gridline somewhere.

So on different charts here and there we'll see different kinds of chart elements. How about the bottom of the chart here? Let's slide into the bottom of the green chart. That's the Horizontal Axis. Well, sure enough, there's a Vertical Axis over on the left-hand side as well. And as I've said, don't memorize these, but the more you work with charts, the more you'll need to know what these are. Another term is going to come up, and it's a little bit illusive at first but you'll become very familiar with it-- as I click on one the lines in this line-chart--you see the term Series.

In an example here it says Latin America. I should point to Jun there. But if you click the line itself or point to the line itself after having moved to somewhere else, you'll see it's the Series Latin America. Or up here, this the series Europe, and off to the left, you can see the data as well. In fact, I click on it, the data will highlight too. You've learned to kind to keep an eye on that, and you sort of absorb the meaning of these terms without really making a studied list of them. There is a pie chart to the right, a 3D pie chart.

Let's click on the pie chart, and once again we see that word Series. Often a series will refer to a row of data, as it appears to be in these examples, but there is another chart off to the left. This is a column chart of a different nature that's clustering data a little bit differently than you might see in another charts. I'll click on one of the columns here, slide the mouse over it. That's June and it's part of a series for Jun. Move away from it. Slide over it again. June. There the series refers to something vertical, part of a column, and here is a 3D chart here.

I'm sliding the mouse over the chart area. The chart area nearly always refers to the outer perimeter area of a chart. The inner part that holds the actual image is generally referred to as the plot area, we see right there. In this 3D chart--I'm pointing to the left-hand side there--Sidewall. It's a term we have not seen in the other charts. Back here a Back Wall, and you've probably figured out by now, what do we see at the bottom here? This is called Floor. And there's another chart down here below the data, a different chart related to different data, and there is a gridline. Clicking on the chart first before you see these.

That's a major gridline and here are one of those minor gridlines. Another thing you recognize too and it is important to start picking up on the names, there will be times when you want to change one of these chart elements, maybe make a line thicker or change its color, and many times you will right-click on the choice to do that. Sometimes though you will have difficulty and actually picking or selecting. This chart here at the bottom here that I'm moving the mouse around has some problems with it.

It's not quite ready to be printed. And one of the series here, the miles per gallon represented by a red, is difficult to click on. So here's something else you'll note. I'm going to click in this chart on the chart area. In the Ribbon at the top of the screen, here's a Layout tab, and the left-most portion of this called Current Selection, you see the term Chart Area. That's the same one we saw when we clicked on the chart. I'm going to click the drop arrow here. Here are all possible elements within this chart, and if I really need to get to that MPG series, I'll click it right here, and now it's selected.

So right below this it says Format Selection. I could click there and make some changes. So as you use charts, you'll see these terms all the time, and again, without really making a studied effort to memorize them all, you'll slowly pick up on them, and it will help you understand charts, and it'll help immensely as you use the various chart tools when you want to make changes to them throughout the use of charts in Excel 2007.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Excel 2007: Charts in Depth
Excel 2007: Charts in Depth

53 video lessons · 9253 viewers

Dennis Taylor
Author

 
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  1. 1m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      46s
  2. 22m 7s
    1. Identifying chart elements like plot area, chart area, gridlines, and legends
      5m 3s
    2. Selecting the right chart type
      8m 2s
    3. Understanding chart terminology
      6m 31s
    4. Understanding the Ribbon and the Design, Layout, and Format tabs
      2m 31s
  3. 16m 24s
    1. Selecting data to display as a chart
      6m 17s
    2. Creating charts instantly with shortcuts
      4m 33s
    3. Creating charts with standard menu commands
      2m 24s
    4. Creating presentation-ready charts with just a few adjustments
      3m 10s
  4. 28m 8s
    1. Switching rows and columns for a different view of the data
      3m 9s
    2. Setting a default chart type and creating a template
      3m 47s
    3. Dealing with empty and hidden cells
      4m 18s
    4. Choosing a chart layout
      4m 33s
    5. Choosing a chart style from 48 colorful variations
      3m 34s
    6. Changing the location of a chart
      3m 33s
    7. Moving and resizing a chart
      5m 14s
  5. 11m 25s
    1. Using pictures as chart elements
      3m 55s
    2. Adding shapes and arrows
      3m 37s
    3. Adding floating text and text boxes
      3m 53s
  6. 33m 45s
    1. Adding, editing, and removing chart titles
      3m 15s
    2. Adding horizontal and vertical titles
      3m 56s
    3. Linking titles to content
      2m 32s
    4. Showing numbers of different scales
      4m 38s
    5. Specifying the position of tick marks and axis labels
      2m 41s
    6. Changing the numeric format on labels
      5m 34s
    7. Adding, editing, and removing legends
      3m 19s
    8. Adding and editing data labels
      4m 40s
    9. Showing the source of a chart's data
      3m 10s
  7. 8m 13s
    1. Modifying axis scaling
      3m 50s
    2. Working with gridlines
      4m 23s
  8. 12m 53s
    1. Analyzing existing and future data with trendlines
      4m 2s
    2. Adding drop lines
      3m 14s
    3. Adding high-low lines and up-down bars
      1m 39s
    4. Adding error bars
      3m 58s
  9. 9m 13s
    1. Selecting shape fill and outline
      3m 3s
    2. Adding shape effects
      3m 19s
    3. Applying WordArt styles
      2m 51s
  10. 16m 33s
    1. Formatting lines and borders
      4m 24s
    2. Filling an area with a color gradient
      2m 7s
    3. Specifying line style, color, and weight
      2m 46s
    4. Working with chart text
      3m 40s
    5. Changing the rotation of chart text
      3m 36s
  11. 38m 39s
    1. Using column and bar charts
      7m 24s
    2. Using line charts
      5m 46s
    3. Using pie charts
      8m 37s
    4. Using area, stock, and XY charts
      9m 3s
    5. Using doughnut, bubble, and radar charts
      7m 49s
  12. 10m 55s
    1. Pasting new data into a chart
      2m 58s
    2. Creating charts from multiple data sources
      3m 39s
    3. Adding new data using a table
      4m 18s
  13. 6m 19s
    1. Printing charts
      6m 19s
  14. 19s
    1. Next steps
      19s

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