Select individual chart elements on a chart

You can use the mouse to quickly select any of the individual chart elements that are displayed in your chart, such as the chart area (chart area: The entire chart and all its elements.), plot area (plot area: In a 2-D chart, the area bounded by the axes, including all data series. In a 3-D chart, the area bounded by the axes, including the data series, category names, tick-mark labels, and axis titles.), 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.), axes (axis: A line bordering the chart plot area used as a frame of reference for measurement. The y axis is usually the vertical axis and contains data. The x-axis is usually the horizontal axis and contains categories.), titles (titles in charts: Descriptive text that is automatically aligned to an axis or centered at the top of a chart.), 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.), or legend (legend: A box that identifies the patterns or colors that are assigned to the data series or categories in a chart.). However, if you are not sure where a specific element is located in the chart, you can select it from a list of chart elements. You can also select chart elements by using the keyboard. There is no way to select all chart elements at once.

For information about displaying specific chart elements, see the See Also list in this article. For information about how to format the chart elements that you select, see Change the format of chart elements.

What do you want to do?


Select a chart element by using the mouse

  • On a chart, click the chart element that you want to select.

The element that you select will be clearly marked with selection handles.

 Tip   To help you locate the chart element that you want to select, Microsoft Office Excel displays an element name when you rest the pointer over a chart element.

 Note   Grouped elements, such as 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.) and 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.), 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 a data marker one time to select the whole data series, and then click that data marker again to select just the data marker.

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Select a chart element from a list of chart elements

  1. Click anywhere in 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 to select.

Excel Ribbon Image

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Select a chart element by using the keyboard

You can select a chart by using the keyboard 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.

After you select a chart, you can use the keyboard to select individual chart elements as follows:

Press To
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. If the current element is the last element in the group, the next group is selected when you press the RIGHT ARROW. Press RIGHT ARROW again to select the first element in the next group.
LEFT ARROW Select the previous element within a group. If the current element is the first element in the group, the previous group is selected when you press the LEFT ARROW. Press LEFT ARROW again to select the last element in the previous group.
ESC Cancel a selection.
TAB Navigate between the chart and any objects or shapes outside of the chart by selecting the next object or shape.
SHIFT+TAB Navigate between the chart and any objects or shapes outside of the chart by selecting the previous object or shape.

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