Change the layout or style of a chart

After you create a chart, you can change its look. To avoid a lot of manual formatting, Microsoft Office Excel provides a variety of useful predefined quick layouts and styles that you may want to apply to your chart. You can then customize the chart further by manually changing the layout and formatting style of its individual chart elements.

Although you cannot save a custom layout or format, you can use the custom layout or format again by saving 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 Quick start: Chart your data or Create a chart from start to finish.

What do you want to do?


Select a predefined chart layout

  1. Click the chart that you want to format.

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.

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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.

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.

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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 theme to display a chart in the exact colors that you want.

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Change the layout of chart elements manually

  1. Click anywhere in the chart or click the chart element that you want to change.

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

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

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  • In the Axes group, click a layout option for the axis or gridlines that you want to change.

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  • In the Background group, click a layout option for the background that you want to change.

Options for chart walls, floors, and 3-D rotation are available on 3-D charts only.

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  • In the Analysis group, click a layout option for any lines or bars that you want to add or change.

Depending on the chart type of your chart, some analysis options may or may not be available.

  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.

Tips    

  • On the Layout tab, you can also find options to add pictures, shapes, or text boxes (Insert group), and you can change the name of your chart (Properties group).
  • To change the format of a specific chart element, you can right-click that chart element, and then click Format <Chart element>.

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Change the formatting style of chart elements manually

  1. Click the chart element that you want to change or do the following to select it from a list of chart elements:
    1. Click the chart.

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 click the chart element for which you want to change the formatting style.

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

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  • In the Shape Styles group, click Shape Fill, Shape Outline, or Shape Effects and then select the formatting options that you want.
  • In the WordArt Styles group, click a WordArt Style option, or click Text Fill, Text Outline, or Text Effects, and then select the text formatting options that you want.

Tip    To change the format of a specific chart element, you can right-click that chart element, and then click Format <Chart element>.

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Save a chart as a chart template

If you want to create another chart such as 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.

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

  1. On the Design tab, in the Type group, click Save as Template.

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  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).

Note    A chart template contains the chart format 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, and then click Reset to Match Style.

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Applies to:
Excel 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Word 2010