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In this course, Dennis Taylor shows how to analyze and communicate the value of data with charts in Excel. The course starts with the foundations: what the parts of a chart are, what the different types of charts are, and which charts work best for your data. The course then shows how to create a presentation-ready chart in minutes and offers dozens of in-depth tutorials on formatting and fine-tuning charts so they represent data clearly and accurately.
To improve readability or to spice up a chart, you might want to select a specific color and shading effect. You can do this for columns and bars and those kinds of charts, or in pie slices. You can do it to the outer area of a chart, the chart area, the inner area, the plot area. You can do this for titles. Practically any portion of a chart that encompasses space possibly can have a shading effect, and these choices are all found in the Ribbon under Shapes Styles.
So, for example, the chart on left here doesn't look that bad really. The legend is somewhat oddly placed for the moment because it's not in the box, but at the outer area here, which I just clicked on, is called the Chart area. And on the Format tab in the Ribbon there is a section called Shape Styles, and there are choices right here that we see, seven choices, but click the drop arrow and suddenly we got quite a few. And Excel's Live Preview is in effect so as I am sliding over these and I am not clicking, you see what's happening to the chart area there, the outer area of a chart.
And as I sometimes say in these situations, if you are an indecisive person well, good luck. It's going to take your some time here. So maybe we will just apply that color. You can easily see how some people are going to get sidetracked with all the wealth of choices here. Now that's the chart area. The inner is the plot area. We don't really have to change this, but if we click the plot area and go up to Shape Styles, we are now on the path to changing that area as well. Similarly, with a legend, and this one is somewhat oddly placed, click near the legend or on it and it to has a rectangle around it that isn't visible unless we put a color on it.
And you can see how we could go overboard. We could do this for title as well, and not to beat this to death, but just so you get the idea here, maybe that will look better in that kind of situation. The chart to the right, same idea. Maybe we'll do just the legends there. So these are easy to get to, and the color choices, by the way, are affected by the theme that's in place in this particular workbook. So if this set of colors is not to your liking, or if you are pulling together a presentation and the other parts of that presentation say in Word or PowerPoint are using a different theme, you might want to go to the Page Layout tab and choose Themes and possibly pick another theme. And as I'm sliding over these, I am not clicking. You see what's happening to various color choices.
I think you could easily see here that you could get sidetracked worrying about this color and that color. Now on a one-by-one basis, you can change this column, that column, this series, a lot of work potentially here if you let it happen, but lots of choices. Primarily we're talking about the choices that appear on the Format tab in Charts, but momentarily here as we look at these different themes, you could see where this might take us. I want to stick with the Office theme, and so we're back here again. So, easy choices. In any chart, format, select the area that you'd like to change and then go to Shape Styles. Lots of choices.
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