Change a chart

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Word

After you create a chart, you can customize it to best present your data. You can format individual chart elements, such as the title, 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 and including all data series. In a 3-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including data series, category names, tick-mark labels, and axis titles.), data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.), axis (axis: Typically, a line that borders one side of the plot area in a chart, providing a frame of reference for measurement or comparison. For most charts, category labels are plotted along the category axis, which is usually horizontal (x), and data values are plotted along the value axis, which is usually vertical (y). If the data that you want to use for a chart doesn't include data labels, Excel uses numbers (starting at 1) to label the rows or columns for you. Time in days, months, or years is plotted on a time-scale axis. When you rest the pointer over an axis, Excel displays the axis type.), and more.

 Important   You must have Excel installed to create or change a chart. You can order a copy of Excel on the Microsoft Web site.

An Office chart with callouts

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Plot area

Callout 3 Legend

Callout 4 Axis titles

Callout 5 Axis labels

Callout 6 Tick marks

Callout 7 Gridlines

Do any of the following:

ShowAdd a chart title

You can add a title to your chart.

A chart with a title and axis titles

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Axis titles

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Labels, click Chart Title, and then click the one that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Select the text in the Chart Title box, and then type a chart title.

 Tip   To format the title, select the text in the title box, and then on the Home tab, under Font, select the formatting that you want.

ShowAdd an axis title

You can add a title to each axis (axis: Typically, a line that borders one side of the plot area in a chart, providing a frame of reference for measurement or comparison. For most charts, category labels are plotted along the category axis, which is usually horizontal (x), and data values are plotted along the value axis, which is usually vertical (y). If the data that you want to use for a chart doesn't include data labels, Excel uses numbers (starting at 1) to label the rows or columns for you. Time in days, months, or years is plotted on a time-scale axis. When you rest the pointer over an axis, Excel displays the axis type.) in a chart. Axis titles are typically available for all axes that can be displayed in a chart, including depth (series) axes in 3-D charts.

Some chart types (such as radar charts) have axes, but they cannot display axis titles. Chart types that do not have axes (such as pie and doughnut charts) cannot display axis titles either.

A chart with a title and axis titles

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Axis titles

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Labels, click Axis Titles, point to the axis that you want to add titles to, and then click the option that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Select the text in the Axis Title box, and then type an axis title.

 Tip   To format the title, select the text in the title box, and then on the Home tab, under Font, select the formatting that you want.

ShowAdd or change the position of horizontal or vertical axis labels

For a horizontal axis, you can add and position the axis on the left side or the right side of the plot area. For a vertical axis, you can add and position the axis on the top or the bottom of the plot area.

 Note   The options may be reversed for bar compared column charts.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the horizontal or vertical axis that you want, and then click the kind of axis label that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

ShowChange the scale of an axis

By default, the minimum and maximum scale values of each axis in a chart are calculated automatically. However, you can customize the scale to better meet your needs. For example, if all the data points in your data table are between 60 and 90, you might want the value (y) axis to have a range of 50 to 100 instead of 0 to 100. When a value axis covers a very large range, you can also change the axis to a logarithmic scale (logarithmic scale: A scale of measurement that uses the logarithm of a quantity instead of the quantity itself. A common example of a logarithmic scale is the Richter scale used to measure earthquakes. On the Richter scale, an increase of 1 -- such as from 4.0 to 5.0 -- represents a tenfold increase in an earthquake's strength.) (also known as log scale).

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the axis that you want to change, and then click Axis Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Scale, and then under Horizontal axis scale or Vertical axis scale, enter the options that you want.

ShowCustomize a legend

A legend can make your chart easier to read because it positions the labels for the data series outside the plot area (plot area: In a 2-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including all data series. In a 3-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including data series, category names, tick-mark labels, and axis titles.) of the chart. You can change the position of the legend and customize its colors and fonts. You can also edit the text in the legend and change the order of the entries in the legend.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. To change the position of the legend, under Labels, click Legend, and then click the legend position that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. To change the format of the legend, under Labels, click Legend, click Legend Options, and then make the format changes that you want.

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

ShowAdd data labels

You can add data labels to show the data point values from the Excel sheet in the chart.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Labels, click Data Labels, and then in the upper part of the list, click the data label type that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Under Labels, click Data Labels, and then in the lower part of the list, click where you want the data label to appear.

ShowAdd tick marks on an axis

An axis can be formatted to display major and minor tick marks at intervals that you choose.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the axis that you want to change, and then click Axis Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Ticks, and then click options for major and minor tick mark types.

 Tip   After you add tick marks, you can change the intervals between the tick marks by clicking Scale in the navigation pane, and then making the changes that you want.

ShowAdd gridlines

To make the data in a chart easier to read, you can display horizontal and vertical chart gridlines that extend across the plot area of the chart. You can also display depth gridlines in 3-D charts. Gridlines can be displayed for major and minor units, and they align with major and minor tick marks on the axes when those are displayed.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Axes, click Gridlines, point to the axis that you want to add a gridline to, and then click the option that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

 Note   Depending on the type of data table or chart, some options for gridlines may not be available.

ShowFormat gridlines

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.
  2. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  3. Under Axes, click Gridlines, point to the axis where you want to format the gridline, and then click Gridlines Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Line, Shadow, or Glow & Soft Edges, and then change the settings that you want.

See also

Create a chart

Chart types

Copy formatting between objects or text

Edit data in a chart

PowerPoint

After you create a chart, you can customize it to best present your data. You can format individual chart elements, such as the title, 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 and including all data series. In a 3-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including data series, category names, tick-mark labels, and axis titles.), data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.), axis (axis: Typically, a line that borders one side of the plot area in a chart, providing a frame of reference for measurement or comparison. For most charts, category labels are plotted along the category axis, which is usually horizontal (x), and data values are plotted along the value axis, which is usually vertical (y). If the data that you want to use for a chart doesn't include data labels, Excel uses numbers (starting at 1) to label the rows or columns for you. Time in days, months, or years is plotted on a time-scale axis. When you rest the pointer over an axis, Excel displays the axis type.), and more.

 Important   You must have Excel installed to create or change a chart. You can order a copy of Excel on the Microsoft Web site.

An Office chart with callouts

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Plot area

Callout 3 Legend

Callout 4 Axis titles

Callout 5 Axis labels

Callout 6 Tick marks

Callout 7 Gridlines

Do any of the following:

ShowAdd a chart title

You can add a title to your chart.

A chart with a title and axis titles

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Axis titles

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Labels, click Chart Title, and then click the one that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Select the text in the Chart Title box, and then type a chart title.

 Tip   To format the title, select the text in the title box, and then on the Home tab, under Font, select the formatting that you want.

ShowAdd an axis title

You can add a title to each axis (axis: Typically, a line that borders one side of the plot area in a chart, providing a frame of reference for measurement or comparison. For most charts, category labels are plotted along the category axis, which is usually horizontal (x), and data values are plotted along the value axis, which is usually vertical (y). If the data that you want to use for a chart doesn't include data labels, Excel uses numbers (starting at 1) to label the rows or columns for you. Time in days, months, or years is plotted on a time-scale axis. When you rest the pointer over an axis, Excel displays the axis type.) in a chart. Axis titles are typically available for all axes that can be displayed in a chart, including depth (series) axes in 3-D charts.

Some chart types (such as radar charts) have axes, but they cannot display axis titles. Chart types that do not have axes (such as pie and doughnut charts) cannot display axis titles either.

A chart with a title and axis titles

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Axis titles

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Labels, click Axis Titles, point to the axis that you want to add titles to, and then click the option that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Select the text in the Axis Title box, and then type an axis title.

 Tip   To format the title, select the text in the title box, and then on the Home tab, under Font, select the formatting that you want.

ShowAdd or change the position of horizontal or vertical axis labels

For a horizontal axis, you can add and position the axis on the left side or the right side of the plot area. For a vertical axis, you can add and position the axis on the top or the bottom of the plot area.

 Note   The options may be reversed for bar compared column charts.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the horizontal or vertical axis that you want, and then click the kind of axis label that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

ShowChange the scale of an axis

By default, the minimum and maximum scale values of each axis in a chart are calculated automatically. However, you can customize the scale to better meet your needs. For example, if all the data points in your data table are between 60 and 90, you might want the value (y) axis to have a range of 50 to 100 instead of 0 to 100. When a value axis covers a very large range, you can also change the axis to a logarithmic scale (logarithmic scale: A scale of measurement that uses the logarithm of a quantity instead of the quantity itself. A common example of a logarithmic scale is the Richter scale used to measure earthquakes. On the Richter scale, an increase of 1 -- such as from 4.0 to 5.0 -- represents a tenfold increase in an earthquake's strength.) (also known as log scale).

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the axis that you want to change, and then click Axis Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Scale, and then under Horizontal axis scale or Vertical axis scale, enter the options that you want.

ShowCustomize a legend

A legend can make your chart easier to read because it positions the labels for the data series outside the plot area (plot area: In a 2-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including all data series. In a 3-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including data series, category names, tick-mark labels, and axis titles.) of the chart. You can change the position of the legend and customize its colors and fonts. You can also edit the text in the legend and change the order of the entries in the legend.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. To change the position of the legend, under Labels, click Legend, and then click the legend position that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. To change the format of the legend, under Labels, click Legend, click Legend Options, and then make the format changes that you want.

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

ShowAdd data labels

You can add data labels to show the data point values from the Excel sheet in the chart.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Labels, click Data Labels, and then in the upper part of the list, click the data label type that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Under Labels, click Data Labels, and then in the lower part of the list, click where you want the data label to appear.

ShowAdd tick marks on an axis

An axis can be formatted to display major and minor tick marks at intervals that you choose.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the axis that you want to change, and then click Axis Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Ticks, and then click options for major and minor tick mark types.

 Tip   After you add tick marks, you can change the intervals between the tick marks by clicking Scale in the navigation pane, and then making the changes that you want.

ShowAdd gridlines

To make the data in a chart easier to read, you can display horizontal and vertical chart gridlines that extend across the plot area of the chart. You can also display depth gridlines in 3-D charts. Gridlines can be displayed for major and minor units, and they align with major and minor tick marks on the axes when those are displayed.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Gridlines, point to the axis that you want to add a gridline to, and then click the option that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

 Note   Depending on the type of data table or chart, some options for gridlines may not be available.

ShowFormat gridlines

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Gridlines, point to the axis where you want to format the gridline, and then click Gridlines Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Line, Shadow, or Glow & Soft Edges, and then change the settings that you want.

See also

Create a chart

Chart types

Copy formatting between objects or text

Edit data in a chart

Animate a chart

Excel

After you create a chart, you can customize it to best present your data. You can format individual chart elements, such as the title, 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 and including all data series. In a 3-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including data series, category names, tick-mark labels, and axis titles.), data series (data series: A group of related data points plotted in a chart that originate from rows or columns on a single sheet. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.), axis (axis: Typically, a line that borders one side of the plot area in a chart, providing a frame of reference for measurement or comparison. For most charts, category labels are plotted along the category axis, which is usually horizontal (x), and data values are plotted along the value axis, which is usually vertical (y). If the data that you want to use for a chart doesn't include data labels, Excel uses numbers (starting at 1) to label the rows or columns for you. Time in days, months, or years is plotted on a time-scale axis. When you rest the pointer over an axis, Excel displays the axis type.), and more.

An Office chart with callouts

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Plot area

Callout 3 Legend

Callout 4 Axis titles

Callout 5 Axis labels

Callout 6 Tick marks

Callout 7 Gridlines

Do any of the following:

ShowAdd a chart title

You can add a title to your chart.

A chart with a title and axis titles

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Axis titles

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Labels, click Chart Title, and then click the one that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Select the text in the Chart Title box, and then type a chart title.

 Tip   To format the title, select the text in the title box, and then on the Home tab, under Font, select the formatting that you want.

ShowAdd an axis title

You can add a title to each axis (axis: Typically, a line that borders one side of the plot area in a chart, providing a frame of reference for measurement or comparison. For most charts, category labels are plotted along the category axis, which is usually horizontal (x), and data values are plotted along the value axis, which is usually vertical (y). If the data that you want to use for a chart doesn't include data labels, Excel uses numbers (starting at 1) to label the rows or columns for you. Time in days, months, or years is plotted on a time-scale axis. When you rest the pointer over an axis, Excel displays the axis type.) in a chart. Axis titles are typically available for all axes that can be displayed in a chart, including depth (series) axes in 3-D charts.

Some chart types (such as radar charts) have axes, but they cannot display axis titles. Chart types that do not have axes (such as pie and doughnut charts) cannot display axis titles either.

A chart with a title and axis titles

Callout 1 Chart title

Callout 2 Axis titles

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Labels, click Axis Titles, point to the axis that you want to add titles to, and then click the option that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Select the text in the Axis Title box, and then type an axis title.

 Tip   To format the title, select the text in the title box, and then on the Home tab, under Font, select the formatting that you want.

ShowAdd or change the position of horizontal or vertical axis labels

For a horizontal axis, you can add and position the axis on the left side or the right side of the plot area. For a vertical axis, you can add and position the axis on the top or the bottom of the plot area.

 Note   The options may be reversed for bar compared column charts.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the horizontal or vertical axis that you want, and then click the kind of axis label that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

ShowChange the scale of an axis

By default, the minimum and maximum scale values of each axis in a chart are calculated automatically. However, you can customize the scale to better meet your needs. For example, if all the data points in your data table are between 60 and 90, you might want the value (y) axis to have a range of 50 to 100 instead of 0 to 100. When a value axis covers a very large range, you can also change the axis to a logarithmic scale (logarithmic scale: A scale of measurement that uses the logarithm of a quantity instead of the quantity itself. A common example of a logarithmic scale is the Richter scale used to measure earthquakes. On the Richter scale, an increase of 1 -- such as from 4.0 to 5.0 -- represents a tenfold increase in an earthquake's strength.) (also known as log scale).

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the axis that you want to change, and then click Axis Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Scale, and then under Horizontal axis scale or Vertical axis scale, enter the options that you want.

ShowCustomize a legend

A legend can make your chart easier to read because it positions the labels for the data series outside the plot area (plot area: In a 2-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including all data series. In a 3-D chart, the area bounded by the axes and including data series, category names, tick-mark labels, and axis titles.) of the chart. You can change the position of the legend and customize its colors and fonts. You can also edit the text in the legend and change the order of the entries in the legend.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. To change the position of the legend, under Labels, click Legend, and then click the legend position that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. To change the format of the legend, under Labels, click Legend, click Legend Options, and then make the format changes that you want.

Depending on the chart type, some options may not be available.

ShowAdd data labels

You can add data labels to show the data point values from the Excel sheet in the chart.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Labels, click Data Labels, and then in the upper part of the list, click the data label type that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Labels group

  1. Under Labels, click Data Labels, and then in the lower part of the list, click where you want the data label to appear.

ShowAdd tick marks on an axis

An axis can be formatted to display major and minor tick marks at intervals that you choose.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Axes, point to the axis that you want to change, and then click Axis Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Ticks, and then click options for major and minor tick mark types.

 Tip   After you add tick marks, you can change the intervals between the tick marks by clicking Scale in the navigation pane, and then making the changes that you want.

ShowAdd gridlines

To make the data in a chart easier to read, you can display horizontal and vertical chart gridlines that extend across the plot area of the chart. You can also display depth gridlines in 3-D charts. Gridlines can be displayed for major and minor units, and they align with major and minor tick marks on the axes when those are displayed.

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Gridlines, point to the axis that you want to add a gridline to, and then click the option that you want.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

 Note   Depending on the type of data table or chart, some options for gridlines may not be available.

ShowFormat gridlines

  1. Click the chart, and then click the Chart Layout tab.
  2. Under Axes, click Gridlines, point to the axis where you want to format the gridline, and then click Gridlines Options.

Chart Layout tab, Axes group

  1. In the navigation pane, click Line, Shadow, or Glow & Soft Edges, and then change the settings that you want.

See also

Create a chart

Chart types

Copy formatting between objects or text

Edit data in a chart

 
 
Applies to:
Excel for Mac 2011, PowerPoint for Mac 2011, Word for Mac 2011