Change the layout or style of a chart

After you create a chart, you can instantly change its look. Instead of manually adding or changing chart elements or formatting the chart, you can quickly apply a predefined layout and style to your chart. Microsoft Office Excel provides a variety of useful predefined layouts and styles (or quick layouts and quick styles) that you can select from. However, you can customize a layout or style of a chart further by manually changing the layout and style of the individual chart elements that are used in the chart.

You cannot save a custom layout or format, but if you want to use the same layout or format again, you can save the chart as a chart template.

 Important   To complete the following procedures, you must have an existing chart. For more information about how to create a chart, see Create a chart.

What do you want to do?


Select a predefined chart layout

  1. Click the chart that you want to format.

 Tip   This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.

  1. On the Design tab, in the Chart Layouts group, click the chart layout that you want to use.

Excel Ribbon Image

 Note   When the Excel window is reduced in size, chart layouts will be available in the Quick Layout gallery in the Chart Layouts group.

 Tip   To see all available layouts, click More Button image.

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Select a predefined chart style

  1. Click the chart that you want to format.

 Tip   This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.

  1. On the Design tab, in the Chart Styles group, click the chart style that you want to use.

 Tip   To see all predefined chart styles, click More Button image.

Excel Ribbon Image

 Note   When the Excel window is reduced in size, chart styles will be available in the Chart Quick Styles gallery in the Chart Styles group.

 Tip   Chart styles use the colors of the current document theme that is applied to the workbook. You can change the colors by switching to a different document theme. You can also customize a document them to display a chart in the exact colors that you want. For more information see Apply, customize, and save a document theme in Word or Excel.

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Change the layout of chart elements manually

  1. Click the chart, or do the following to select the chart element for which you want to change the layout from a list of chart elements:
    1. Click a chart.

 Tip   This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.

  1. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, click the arrow next to the Chart Elements box, and then click the chart element that you want.

Excel Ribbon Image

  1. On the Layout tab, do the one or more of the following:
  • In the Labels group, click the label layout option that you want.

Excel Ribbon Image

  • In the Axes group, click the axis or gridline option that you want.

Excel Ribbon Image

  • In the Background group, click the layout option that you want.

Excel Ribbon Image

  1.  Note   The layout options that you select are applied to the element that you have selected. For example, if you have the whole chart selected, data labels will be applied to all data series. If you have a single data point selected, data labels will only be applied to the selected data series or data point.

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Change the style of chart elements manually

  1. Click the chart.

 Tip   This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.

  1. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, click the arrow in the Chart Elements box, and then select the chart element that you want to format.

Excel Ribbon Image

  1. On the Format tab, do one of the following:
    • In the Current Selection group, click Format Selection, and then select the formatting options that you want.
    • In the Shape Styles group, click the More button Button image, and then select a style.

Shape Styles group on Excel Ribbon

  • In the Shape Styles group, click Shape Fill, Shape Outline, or Shape Effects and then select the formatting options that you want.

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Save a chart as a chart template

If you want to create another chart like the one that you just created, you can save the chart as a template that you can use as the basis for other similar charts.

  1. Click the chart that you want to save as a template.
  2. On the Design tab, in the Type group, click Save as Template.

Type group on Excel Ribbon

  1. In the File name box, type a name for the template.

 Tip   Unless you specify a different folder, the template file (.crtx) will be saved in the Charts folder, and the template becomes available under Templates in both the Insert Chart dialog box (Insert tab, Charts group, Dialog Box Launcher Button image ) and the Change Chart Type dialog box (Design tab, Type group, Change Chart Type).

For more information about how to apply a chart template, see Reuse a favorite chart by using a chart template.

 Note   A chart template contains chart formatting and stores the colors that are in use when you save the chart as a template. When you use a chart template to create a chart in another workbook, the new chart uses the colors of the chart template — not the colors of the document theme that is currently applied to the workbook. To use the document theme colors instead of the chart template colors, right-click the chart area (chart area: The entire chart and all its elements.), and then click Reset to Match Style on the shortcut menu.

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Applies to:
Excel 2007, Outlook 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Word 2007