Characteristics of a Chart

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The Characteristics of a Chart

A Chart and its Container

A chart cannot reside on its own. It needs a container which is a worksheet. By default, after selecting the cells and starting to create a chart, the chart is created in the same worksheet where the values were selected. If you want, you can put the chart in another worksheet. To do that, right-click the chart and click Move Chart... A dialog box would display:

Move Chart

To put the chart in an existing worksheet, select it in the Object In combo box. To display it in a brand new worksheet, click the New Sheet radio button and specify the name in the top text box.

Practical Learning: Moving a Chart

  1. Right-click the border of the chart and click Move Chart
  2. Click the top text box and replace the name with Sales by Types Summary
  3. Click OK

The Sections of a Chart

To present its information, a chart is made of various sections:

The Sections of a Chart

Most or every one of these aspects can be hidden, displayed or changed. To perform any action on these parts, you can right-click a section or an object on the chart and click a Format... option.

Editing the Values of a Chart

As mentioned already, to create a chart, you select values from some cells of a worksheet. When analyzing data using a chart, you may want to use "What If" scenarios. For example, if you are viewing the numbers of students per gender in a school and one gender is predominant, you may want to view the tendency if the number of members were the same for both members, if the members of the predominant gender were even more, or if the members of the other gender were predominant. Therefore, during data analysis, you can change the values used by the chart. To change the values used for a chart, click the appropriate cell on the worksheet and type the desired value. When you do this, the chart would be automatically updated.

To change the values used for a chart, click the appropriate cell on the worksheet and type the desired value. When you do this, the chart would be automatically updated.

Practical Learning: Editing the Values of a Chart

  1. Click Sales by Types. Click Cell D6 and type 5
  2. Click Cell E6 and type 18
  3. Click the Sales by Types Summary tab sheet and notice that the chart has changed
  4. Save the workbook

A Chart's Legend

To show what the graphics on a chart represent, a chart is accompanied by an object on a side called a legend. The legend is made of at least one small square box of the same color of at least one of the graphics on the chart:

Legend

In this case, the legend contains one item labeled Total Sales. Because the legend represents a graphic of the chart, when you make a change on that graphic, the legend is updated. Still, you can change the legend if you want.

To make changes to the legend, on the chart, right-click the legend:

  • To change the font:
    • Use the buttons on the toolbar
    • Click Font... and use the Font dialog box
  • To change other aspects of the legend, click Format Legend... This would display the Format legend dialog box

Make the changes, and click Close.

If you do not want to use a legend, you can delete it. To remove the legend:

  • Click the legend and press Delete
  • Right-click the legend and click Delete

Practical Learning: Using a Chart's Legend

  1. Right-click Count
  2. From the toolbar that appears, click the arrow of the Font Name combo box and select Garamond
  3. Right-click Count again. On the toolbar, click the arrow of the Font Size combo box and select 20
  4. Click the Bold button
  5. Click the arrow of the Color combo box and select Red
  6. Right-click Count and click Format Legend...
  7. In the left list, make sure Legend Options is selected. In the right list, under Legend Position, click the Bottom radio button
  8. Click Close

The Title of a Chart

To indicate what it is used for, a chart can be equipped with a title. The title is a string that typically displays in the top section of a chart. In some (rare) cases, a title can also be positioned on the left or the right sides, above or below the chart. To move the title, on the chart, click and drag the title in the desired direction.

To change the text of the title, click inside it and edit its text. To format the title:

To make changes to the legend, on the chart, right-click the legend:

  • To change the font:
    • Use the buttons on the toolbar
    • Click Font... and use the Font dialog box
  • To change other aspects of the title, click Format Chart Title... This would display the Format Chart Title dialog box

Format Chart Title

Make the changes, and click Close.

If you do not want to use a title, you can delete it. To remove the title:

  • Click the title and press Delete
  • Right-click the title and click Delete

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Title

  1. Click inside the Count label on top and edit it to display Sales Per Type
  2. Right-click the title
  3. From the toolbar that appears, click the arrow of the Font Name combo box and select Courier New. Click the arrow of the Font Size combo box and select 28
  4. Click the arrow of the Color combo box and select Red
  5. Save the workbook

Chart Figures

To represent its numbers, a chart draws some geometric figures, depending on the type of chart. These figures can be rectangles, pie slices, triangles, cones, etc. To paint these figures, by default, the chart engine uses some colors from its own list. You can either change these colors or apply some preset drawings available. You can also design and use any custom picture to paint the chart's shapes.

To format the geometric figures of a chart, you can right-click one of them and click Format Data Series...

By default, when you have just created a chart that uses one column for its values, Microsoft Excel applies the same formatting, such as the same color, to all of its figures. You can keep that common color or change the color of each individual shape. To change the formats of a shape, right-click it and click Format Data Point. This would display the Format Data Point dialog box:

Format Data Point

Make the changes and click Close.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Shapes

  1. Right-click the left rectangle on the chart and click Format Data Point...
  2. In the Format Data Point dialog box, in the left list, click Border color
  3. In the right list, click Solid Line
  4. Click the Color button and click Dark Blue, Text 2, Darker 25%
  5. In the left list, click Fill
  6. In the right list, click Gradient Fill
  7. Click the Preset Color button and click Ocean
  8. In the Type combo box, select Rectangle
  9. Click the Direction button and click the From Center button
  10. Click Close
  11. On the chart, right-click the middle rectangle and click Format Data Point...
  12. In the Format Data Point dialog box, in the left list, click Fill
  13. In the right list, click Picture or Texture Fill
  14. Click the Texture button and click Granite
  15. Click Close
     
    Chart
  16. Save the workbook

Chart's Labels

By default, when a chart is drawn, it is equipped with shapes and a separate legend. If you want, you can display the value of each part and possibly its name close to it. This is done through a label. On a large chart, a label can also be used in the absence of a legend. In fact, you can delete a legend and simply make use of a label.

To add the labels to a chart, right-click a shape on the chart and click Add Data Label. To remove an existing chart label, right-click it and click Delete.

Practical Learning: Adding Labels to a Chart

  1. On the chart, right-click the right box and click Add Data Label
  2. Save the workbook

The Chart's Background

You can enhance the appearance of a chart by drawing a background wall behind it. The wall is just a graphical object. By default, the background of a chart is painted in white. You can use a different color to paint it, a design pattern or a picture to cover it.

To add background wall to a chart, right-click the chart and click Format Chart Area... This would open the Format Chart dialog box where you can make the necessary changes.

Practical Learning: Formatting a Chart's Walls

  1. Right-click a white area of the chart and click Format Chart Area...
  2. In the left list, make sure Fill is selected.
    In the right list, click Picture or Texture Fill
  3. Click the Texture button and click Newsprint
  4. Click Close
  5. On the chart, right-click a white are between two boxes and click Format Plot Area
  6. In the left list, make sure Fill is selected.
    In the right list, click No Fill and click Close
     
  7. Save the workbook