Join Dennis Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with axes, titles, and other chart elements, part of Excel 2016 Essential Training.
- The various components of a chart are referred to as Chart Elements. We're looking at a worksheet called Chart Elements on the 07 Charting workbook. As you select a chart, the outer area near the borders is referred to as a Chart Area, that's a Chart Element. The inner area is called a Plot Area. And as you click these, and the chart is selected, the Format tab in the ribbon in the extreme upper left corner does tell us what's currently selected. Now I'm not suggesting you memorize these, but as you point to different items, or elements here, there's a gridline, we can click that, we also see this in the upper left corner.
There's a drop arrow here also, and we can see some of the other elements before actually selecting them. So sometimes we want to make changes to these and in older versions of Excel, these were based in the menu system at the top of the screen. And the choices seemed to be overwhelming and hard to get to. Starting in Excel 2013, there's been a redesign of how charting formatting works. So in this particular chart that we're looking at here you'll notice as with any chart, when it's selected, some buttons to the right.
There's a paintbrush right here, if you click this you'll see some different styles. Now this is exactly what you might see if, with the chart being selected, you go back to the Design tab in the ribbon, and you see these Chart Styles up above. Do you see these choices here? These are the same ones we see if the chart is selected, and we click the paintbrush to the right. But the plus button to the right, as I click it, reveals the heading chart elements, some of these different features.
Here, are Axes here. Now we've got axes in place, down the left hand side, across the bottom there's an arrow to the right here, we can click this and we can see that these are both in place. Take off one of these, take off primary horizontal, watch the chart, we're not seeing the headings. We would certainly want that, so these are more likely to see. Axis Titles, we don't have them just yet, we just for the moment are seeing placeholders for them. Look on the chart where you see Axis Title below the chart, and also to the left hand side.
If we want to add these we can flick the arrow to the right there, and add these. And that of course, will have to put in the appropriate text, if we truly want these. So let's say we do, we'll get to them a little bit later. Chart Title's already in place. Data Labels, you might not have seen those. Thats what they look like. We could click the arrow to the right, we see some other choices. How might they look centered? Inside End, Inside Base, and so on. We see some choices here. One of those, Data Callout, would be pretty busy looking.
Or More Options here. And this could take us into a dialog box on the right side of the screen. If we don't want to look at this right now we could simply click the X. Come back to the plus, bring you back to Data Labels, and uncheck that for the moment. We can consider that later. We might not know what a Data Table is, but we get a preview of how that might look. And as we slide over these we might consider adding them, we can check the box, or not. I'm going to go back to Data Labels and uncheck that, not wild about the look of that.
Gridlines are already in place, but there are others. We can see some options. So it takes awhile to explore all these, and I'm certainly not suggesting that it's necessary to change them all. But from time to time you might want to change this one or that one, so you've got some choices here. Legend is already here. There's an arrow to the right. We could consider putting the legend on the right side, right there instead. Click outside of this. Looks like there's not enough room in this case, it looks like it's not accepting. The top, it does.
Left, Bottom, More Options. So we can go out here and get to this. So different approaches here to working with these. And there's another approach too to working with elements. Sometimes all you need to do is to double click. I'm looking at this chart and saying to myself, I like it when there's more white space above the columns. So what do I want to double click on to make a change? Any of the numbers down the left hand side, these are the Axis numbers. I want to double click one of them. It automatically activates a dialog box to the right.
Now these dialog boxes are quite extensive and you'll see different choices up top here. This one says Axis Options. Size and Properties. Effects. Fill and Line. A lot of choices. All I want to do is to change the maximum here, which is automatic, it adjusts with the data, but I want to change it to 1000. So this is just one example of a change you might want to consider making. Type in 1000, either click somewhere else, or press Enter, either way you see what's happening in the chart.
You can move this dialog box by dragging its title bar, no real reason to do this, but sometimes you might want to do that. Or if it's already floating out over here you won't have to return to the right side double click its heading that is off to the right. So we get here by way of double clicking one of the elements if we want to make a change that way. I think generally it's better, after getting rid of this, to consider at least first clicking the plus, exploring the options this way. But again, the fallback method, double click the element in question.
I want to change the gridlines, I'm not sure what I want to do with them, but I'll double click. Now how do you position the mouse on the gridline? Sometimes it's a little tricky. Can't quite do it, maybe. We can go to the Format tab. Off to the left we see this white panel that shows the different elements. Drop arrow here I see Value Axis Major Gridlines, that's what I want to change. Click that. And then below it, Format Selection. So maybe I'll go down this path here and consider making those lines, maybe not gray, but black.
Or maybe red. Or blue, or whatever. I'm not sure if that looks better but maybe change the width of it even. I think you can see here how you can, if you're not careful, spend way too much time out here. I'll close this down. But lots of approaches. Remember, the fallback method is to double click, or perhaps more coherently, click the plus that appears to the right of the chart and explore the particular element that you want to make changes to. And lots of options out here.
- Working with the Excel interface
- Entering data
- Creating formulas and functions
- Formatting rows, columns, cells, and data
- Working with alignment and text wrap
- Adjusting rows and columns
- Finding and replacing data
- Printing and sharing worksheets
- Creating charts and PivotTables
- Inserting and deleting sheets
- Using power functions such as IF and VLOOKUP
- Password-protecting worksheets and workbooks
- Sorting data
- Analyzing data with Goal Seek and Solver
- Creating and running macros