Vary the colors of same-series data markers in a chart

When you create a single-series chart, all data markers (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.) that represent the data points (data points: Individual values plotted in a chart and represented by bars, columns, lines, pie or doughnut slices, dots, and various other shapes called data markers. Data markers of the same color constitute a data series.) in that 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.) are displayed in the same color. To use different colors for each data marker, you can vary the colors automatically by using the Vary colors by point or Vary colors by slice option.

Example of varied colors in a single-series column chart

By default, the colors of slices in pie charts and doughnut charts are varied, but you can turn this option off as needed. For example, you may want to display each ring in a doughnut chart in a single color instead of varied colors.

Example of a doughnut chart with varied colors

You can also vary colors by changing the color of each data marker manually.

 Important   To successfully complete these 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?


Automatically vary data marker colors by point or by slice

  1. In a chart, click the data series for which you want to change the colors, or do the following to select the data series from a list of chart elements.
    1. Click anywhere in the chart.
      This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.
    2. 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 use.

Excel Ribbon

  1. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, click Format Selection.
  2. In the Format Data Series dialog box, click the Fill category, and then do the following:
  • To vary the colors of data markers in a single-series chart, select the Vary colors by point check box.
  • To display all data points of a data series in the same color on a pie chart or donut chart, clear the Vary colors by slice check box.

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Vary data marker colors manually

  1. On a chart, click the data marker that you want to change, or do the following to select it from a list of chart elements:
    1. Click anywhere in the chart.
      This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.
    2. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, click the arrow next to the Chart Elements box, and then click the data marker that you want.

Excel Ribbon

  1. On the Format tab, in the Shape Styles group, click Shape Fill.

Excel Ribbon

  1. Do one of the following:
  • To use a different fill color, under Theme Colors or Standard Colors, click the color that you want to use.

 Tip   Before you apply a different color, you can quickly preview how that color affects the chart. When you point to colors that you may want to use, the selected chart element will be displayed in that color on the chart.

  • To remove the color from the selected chart element, click No Fill.
  • To use a fill color that is not available under Theme Colors or Standard Colors, click More Fill Colors. In the Colors dialog box, specify the color that you want to use on the Standard or Custom tab, and then click OK.

Custom fill colors that you create are added under Recent Colors so that you can use them again.

  • To fill the shape with a picture, click Picture. In the Insert Picture dialog box, click the picture that you want to use, and then click Insert.
  • To use a gradient effect for the selected fill color, click Gradient, and then click the gradient style that you want to use.

For additional gradient styles, click More Gradients, and then in the Fill category, click the gradient options that you want to use.

  • To use a texture fill, click Texture, and then click the texture that you want to use.
  1. Repeat these steps for every data marker that you want to change.

 Tip   For more information about how to change the look of chart elements, see Change the shape fill, outline, or effects of chart elements.

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