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Working with axes, labels, gridlines, and other chart elements

From: Excel 2013 Essential Training

Video: Working with axes, labels, gridlines, and other chart elements

Each part of an Excel chart has a name and although it's not important to memorize those, you want to get used to the idea that a chart is comprised of various elements. In this worksheet called ChartElements in the 07-Charting workbook, if we select the chart--it's depicting the data in columns D through I--depending upon where we click and how we move the mouse around, words pop up on the screen. For example, I just slid the mouse into the area where the columns are and we see the term "Plot Area"; slide up here, we see the term "Chart Area".

Working with axes, labels, gridlines, and other chart elements

Each part of an Excel chart has a name and although it's not important to memorize those, you want to get used to the idea that a chart is comprised of various elements. In this worksheet called ChartElements in the 07-Charting workbook, if we select the chart--it's depicting the data in columns D through I--depending upon where we click and how we move the mouse around, words pop up on the screen. For example, I just slid the mouse into the area where the columns are and we see the term "Plot Area"; slide up here, we see the term "Chart Area".

Point to one of the columns, we see that it's part of a series; point to the data along the left hand side that's the Vertical Axis; down below, we have got a Horizontal Axis and so on. If there are gridlines, if we point to them, we will see that we have got possibly major gridlines and maybe minor gridlines. If the Format tab is active and it will be if the chart is selected--it's part of the Chart Tools ribbon--the upper left corner in the current selection group contains the name of the current element, the one that's selected.

If you click on the chart and start using the down or up arrows that's another way to see the elements--no real reason to do this except possibly to take stock of what can be selected--there for example are the gridlines. And we see that in the upper left hand corner, there is the Title, Chart Title and so on. We sometimes want to make changes. For example, in this chart we have got gridlines here, but maybe they are not strong enough, they are kind of weak-looking, so we might want to make changes simply by right-clicking on one of the gridlines. If you right-click a chart element, you will get a menu that encloses the word "Format" followed by the element that you had clicked, for example, Format Gridlines. And that activates a dialog box over on the right hand side with many choices depending upon which element you have selected.

In this case I want to make the lines thicker, the term is "Width", it's currently 0.75, I will change this maybe to be 2. You can see the lines, getting thicker already. That's what it would look like if it were three, maybe two is better. So we'll make a choice here. And we are done, and we close the dialog box. Maybe we don't like the way the scaling is done here, maybe someone else has been working with this chart, why does the scaling go to 1000, looks like it only needs to go to 700 or 800 or so. So we right-click the Axis area and choose Format Axis, again, activating the dialog box over in the right hand side.

It shows us we have got a Minimum and a Maximum, we can go with the automatic settings--looks like someone has altered this a bit--we might change this to 800 or maybe change it to 900; simply do a reset maybe, see what happens. What happens now? It looks like it goes to 800. We could override that, we might put in 750. So we have got some control over this. And the idea here is not to create "make work projects", but to suggest that we do have some options for controlling the display here. So, right-clicking any element leads us into some other choices.

Right click Chart Area and choose Format Chart Area and we see some choices out there too. Those tend to be mostly visual, but we sometimes want to make some changes. Now, there is another approach to this too, when a chart is selected, of the three buttons on the right hand side, the top one plus indicates Chart Elements. Add, remove or change chart elements such as the title, legend, gridlines and data labels. Now we haven't even seen that term "data labels", maybe, what does that mean? As soon as we click the choice, we do see the Chart Elements that are currently active.

And we don't see anything about data labels--what are they? Let's go here. Well, immediately we see something happening on the screen. Now, there is an arrow to the right, let's click it, center, and look what's happening on the chart or inside end. The data labels that we might want to consider using can be placed on the columns here. As we look to these choices, we decide whether we like this or not, I think we probably wouldn't care for that one; make a choice here. That's provided of course, we do want data labels. Looking a little crowded there. That might work better if we had fewer sets of columns here, fewer series, but nevertheless that's a choice you might want to make.

So from time to time, I think you do want to explore these to see what they might do to make this chart look better. Data table, probably not a good choice here, it simply replicates the data. This might be a good choice if you have a chart on its own sheet. Axis Titles, off to the left and bottom we don't have them right now, maybe we want them. You make decisions about how you want to change the appearance of the chart. And this might be a good starting point because it does alert you to some of the terminology. It does give you some ideas. We do have Gridlines here, but you may or may not have been aware of the idea that with gridlines can come also--by clicking the arrow here--Primary Major Horizontal which we have seen; how about Primary Minor Horizontal? Now those are very faint, I can see them you probably can't.

But I could, if I wished, then select these minor horizontal lines and make them thicker or use a different color. And again, I think the danger here is not to get bogged down in features that you never even knew about, but to give more impetus and weight to the visuals in the chart, make the changes that you want. I think the gridlines actually look pretty good here, so I am going to bring them back. Not too sure about the data labels, but we can leave them there for awhile. If the chart gets bigger or if we decide to show a fewer series, maybe those numbers aren't quite bumping into each other so easily.

We could also right-click one of the numbers and choose Format Data Labels and possibly make some changes there too, either going to the sizing and maybe reconsider the positioning too. So lots of choices here for controlling the various Chart Elements that exist within Excel Charts.

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This video is part of

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Excel 2013 Essential Training

82 video lessons · 74803 viewers

Dennis Taylor
Author

 
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  1. 1m 6s
    1. Welcome
      43s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 29m 37s
    1. What is Excel used for?
      1m 49s
    2. Using the menu system
      4m 30s
    3. The Quick Access Toolbar
      4m 41s
    4. The structure of a worksheet or workbook
      3m 41s
    5. Using the Formula bar
      1m 43s
    6. Using the Status bar
      2m 24s
    7. Navigation and mouse pointers
      2m 20s
    8. Shortcut menus and the Mini toolbar
      3m 24s
    9. Using the built-in help
      2m 54s
    10. Creating new files
      2m 11s
  3. 24m 1s
    1. Exploring data entry and editing techniques
      4m 41s
    2. Entering data with AutoFill
      4m 6s
    3. Working with dates and times
      3m 32s
    4. Using Undo and Redo
      4m 50s
    5. Adding comments
      2m 55s
    6. Using Save or Save As
      3m 57s
  4. 30m 7s
    1. Creating simple formulas: Totals and averages
      5m 25s
    2. Copying a formula for adjacent cells
      2m 54s
    3. Calculating year-to-date profits
      3m 9s
    4. Creating a percentage-increase formula
      4m 7s
    5. Working with relative, absolute, and mixed references
      4m 7s
    6. Using SUM and AVERAGE
      3m 25s
    7. Using other common functions
      7m 0s
  5. 46m 7s
    1. Exploring font styles and effects
      4m 7s
    2. Adjusting row heights and column widths
      3m 37s
    3. Working with alignment and Wrap Text
      4m 2s
    4. Designing borders
      3m 26s
    5. Exploring numeric and special formatting
      5m 36s
    6. Formatting numbers and dates
      4m 31s
    7. Conditional formatting
      4m 21s
    8. Creating and using tables
      9m 59s
    9. Inserting shapes, arrows, and other visual features
      6m 28s
  6. 20m 40s
    1. Inserting and deleting rows and columns
      4m 52s
    2. Hiding and unhiding rows and columns
      4m 2s
    3. Moving, copying, and inserting data
      5m 42s
    4. Finding and replacing data
      6m 4s
  7. 17m 51s
    1. Exploring the Page Layout tab and view
      7m 20s
    2. Previewing page breaks
      4m 56s
    3. Working with Page Setup and printing controls
      5m 35s
  8. 30m 30s
    1. Creating charts
      4m 36s
    2. Exploring chart types
      7m 47s
    3. Formatting charts
      5m 42s
    4. Working with axes, labels, gridlines, and other chart elements
      5m 35s
    5. Creating in-cell charts with sparklines
      6m 50s
  9. 12m 49s
    1. Freezing and unfreezing panes
      2m 39s
    2. Splitting screens horizontally and vertically
      4m 48s
    3. Showing necessary information with the Outlining feature
      5m 22s
  10. 23m 0s
    1. Displaying multiple worksheets and workbooks
      4m 17s
    2. Renaming, inserting, and deleting sheets
      2m 23s
    3. Moving, copying, and grouping sheets
      3m 39s
    4. Using formulas to link worksheets and workbooks
      6m 1s
    5. Locating and maintaining links
      6m 40s
  11. 20m 25s
    1. Using IF functions and relational operators
      3m 43s
    2. Getting approximate table data with the VLOOKUP function
      7m 6s
    3. Getting exact table data with the VLOOKUP function
      4m 42s
    4. Using the COUNTIF family of functions
      4m 54s
  12. 23m 50s
    1. Unlocking cells and protecting worksheets
      7m 50s
    2. Protecting workbooks
      2m 40s
    3. Assigning passwords to workbooks
      4m 41s
    4. Sharing workbooks
      4m 7s
    5. Tracking changes
      4m 32s
  13. 28m 32s
    1. Sorting data
      6m 9s
    2. Inserting subtotals in a sorted list
      8m 25s
    3. Using filters
      6m 16s
    4. Splitting data into multiple columns
      5m 4s
    5. Removing duplicate records
      2m 38s
  14. 35m 2s
    1. Creating PivotTables
      8m 36s
    2. Manipulating PivotTable data
      9m 47s
    3. Grouping by date and time
      6m 0s
    4. Grouping by other factors
      2m 33s
    5. Using slicers to clarify and manipulate fields
      4m 7s
    6. Using PivotCharts
      3m 59s
  15. 23m 29s
    1. Using Goal Seek
      6m 8s
    2. Using Solver
      6m 34s
    3. Using Scenario Manager
      6m 11s
    4. Using Data Tables
      4m 36s
  16. 24m 31s
    1. Definition and examples
      6m 48s
    2. Creating a simple macro
      7m 0s
    3. Running a macro
      10m 43s
  17. 29s
    1. Next steps
      29s

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