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Charts III: Create a professional-looking chart

Chart with gridlines that extend from the value (y) axis on the left across the chart; chart with gridlines deleted

Fig. 1  Chart with gridlines.
Fig. 2  Chart without gridlines.

The chart in Figure 1 shows the number of cases of chocolate biscuits sold by each salesperson, month by month.

To begin, do you think the gridlines are necessary? The horizontal lines extend from the value (y) axis on the left across the chart to help you see the value of each of the columns. But in this chart it's pretty easy to see that Suyama sold around 300 cases in March, even without the gridlines.

Excel automatically adds gridlines. But you can delete them if you decide they're not essential, and reduce clutter in the process. Figure 2 shows how a chart looks without gridlines.

There are two methods to delete the gridlines. (Indeed, there are two methods to make other changes as well.) One method is to select the chart, right-click, and then select Chart Options on the shortcut menu; the other is to click Chart Options on the Chart menu after selecting the chart.

Tip     The first step to make any chart change is to select either the chart or a specific item on the chart. There's a bit of an art to selecting the right part, which you'll learn how to do in the practice session.

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