Formatting Charts in Excel

Once you create a chart it's easy to format and enhance your chart using Excel's menus and commands. Simply right click or double click on the chart item you want to format to view the formatting options for that item.

Just a few of the chart items you can format are:

If you are using the QI Macros with Excel 2007, view our Excel 2007 Formatting Tips.

Chart Titles, Axis Titles, and Data Labels

TO CHANGE TEXT: To change the title, axis or data label text, click once on the text box to highlight it, then click again to place your cursor within the text box. Note: don't double click on the title; this will open the formatting box and text cannot be modified there.

TO CHANGE TITLE APPEARANCE: Right click on the title or data label you want to format and select Format, or double click.

Chart Title:

format chart title

Axis Title:

format chart axis

Data Label:

format chart data labels

From the formatting window you can change text box color and patterns, font style, and text box alignment:

format chart title options

Chart Lines

To change the color or style of chart lines, simply click on the line to highlight it, then right click to view the formatting options, or double click on the line:

format chart data series

From the Format Data Series window you can select line colors and styles and show or hide data labels:

format chart data series options

Axis Labels

Right click the axis labels you want to format and select Format Axis, or double click:

format chart axis

From the formatting window, you can change label fonts, number formats, label alignment, and axis scale (e.g. change minimum and maximum values on y axis):

format chart axis options

Plot Area / Chart Area

If you are using the QI Macros charts in a presentation, you may want to add some color. You may add a background color to the chart by right clicking in a blank area inside the chart and selecting Format Plot Area:

format chart plot area

You may also add a background color to the chart area (the area surrounding your chart) by right clicking in a blank area outside of the chart and selecting Format Chart Area:

From the Format Plot Area or Format Chart Area window, you can select a background color for the chart, chart borders, and fill effects:

format chart plot area options

Excel 2007 Formatting Tips

With Microsoft's release of Excel 2007, many of the menus have changed. For an overview of the QI Macros menu changes, visit http://www.qimacros.com/free-excel-tips/excel-2007-spc

Additionally, to format chart items, you must right click on the item to open the formatting window, or left click once to highlight the item, then select your formatting options from the Home tab on the Excel 2007 Ribbon:

format chart on Excel 2007

Double clicking on a chart item in Excel 2007 does not open the formatting window as in previous versions of Excel.

Formatting Chart Titles, Axis Titles, and Data Labels

Right click on the title and a formatting window and pull down menu will open:

format chart menu in Excel 2007

Notice that you may also select Edit Text:

format chart menu in Excel 2007

Click on Format Chart Title to open this Menu:

format chart title options in Excel 2007

Formatting Chart Lines

Right click on the line and select Format Data Series:

format data series in Excel 2007

From the Format Data Series window you can select line colors and styles:

format data series options  in Excel 2007

Formatting Axis Labels

Right click on the Axis and select Format Axis from the pull down menu or use the options in the formatting window:

format axis in Excel 2007

The Format Axis window looks like this:

format axis options in Excel 2007

Formatting Plot Area / Chart Area

You may add a background color to the chart by right clicking in a blank area inside the chart and selecting Format Plot Area:

format plot area in Excel 2007

You may also add a background color to the chart area (the area surrounding your chart) by right clicking in a blank area outside of the chart and selecting Format Chart Area:

format plot area options in Excel 2007

From the Format Plot Area or Format Chart Area window, you can select a background color for the chart, chart borders, shadows and 3D effects:

format plot area options in Excel 2007 - 2010

As you can see, once you run a chart with the QI Macros, you can use any of Excel's chart formatting options.

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