Select chart items

You can use the mouse to select chart elements on a chart sheet (chart sheet: A sheet in a workbook that contains only a chart. A chart sheet is beneficial when you want to view a chart or a PivotChart report separately from worksheet data or a PivotTable report.) or in an embedded chart (embedded chart: A chart that is placed on a worksheet rather than on a separate chart sheet. Embedded charts are beneficial when you want to view or print a chart or a PivotChart report with its source data or other information in a worksheet.). However, if you are not sure where a specific element is located in the chart, you can select it in the Chart Objects box on the Chart toolbar. You can also select chart elements by using the keyboard.

What do you want to do?

Select chart elements by using the mouse

Select chart elements by using the Chart toolbar

Select chart elements by using the keyboard

Select chart elements by using the mouse

  • On a chart sheet or in an embedded chart, click the chart element that you want.

Data series (data series: Related data points that are plotted in a chart. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern and is represented in the chart legend. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.), data labels (data label: A label that provides additional information about a data marker, which represents a single data point or value that originates from a worksheet cell.), and the legend (legend: A box that identifies the patterns or colors that are assigned to the data series or categories in a chart.) contain individual elements that can be selected after you select the group. For example, to select a single data marker (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a worksheet cell. Related data markers in a chart constitute a data series.) in a data series, click the data series, and then click the data marker. Microsoft Excel displays the name of a chart item in a tip when you rest the pointer over the item if you have the Show names check box selected (Tools menu, Options command, Chart tab).

 Tip   By default, Excel displays chart element names or data series names and values when you rest the pointer over chart elements. If these options are turned off, you can enable them under Chart tips on the Chart tab of the Options dialog box (Tools menu, Options command).

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Select chart elements by using the Chart toolbar

  1. Click a chart sheet or an embedded chart.
  2. On the Chart toolbar, click the arrow next to the Chart Objects box  Chart objects box, and then click the chart element that you want.

 Tip   If you don't see the Chart toolbar, point to Toolbars on the View menu, and then click Chart.

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Select chart elements by using the keyboard

You can select a chart sheet or an embedded chart by using the keyboard, and then by using the keyboard to select individual chart elements as follows:

Press To
CTRL+PAGE DOWN or CTRL+PAGE UP Select the next or previous sheet, repeating this action until the chart sheet that you want is selected.
DOWN ARROW Select the previous group of elements in a chart.
UP ARROW Select the next group of elements in a chart.
RIGHT ARROW Select the next element within a group.
LEFT ARROW Select the previous element within a group.
ESC Cancel a selection.

 Tip   If a chart is embedded in a worksheet, you can use the following procedure to select it by using the keyboard.

  1. Make sure that the Drawing toolbar is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

 Tip   To display the Drawing toolbar, press ALT+V, press T, press DOWN ARROW until Drawing is selected, and then press ENTER.

  1. Press F10 to activate the menu bar.
  2. Press CTRL+TAB or CTRL+SHIFT+TAB to select the Drawing toolbar.
  3. Press the RIGHT ARROW key to select the Select Objects  Button image  button on the Drawing toolbar.
  4. Press CTRL+ENTER to select the first object.
  5. Press the TAB key to cycle forward (or SHIFT+TAB to cycle backward) through the objects until round sizing handles (sizing handle: One of the small circles or squares that appears at the corners and sides of a selected object. You drag these handles to change the size of the object.) appear on the embedded chart that you want to select.
  6. Press CTRL+ENTER to make the chart active so that you can select elements within it.

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Applies to:
Excel 2003