Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Repositioning chart elements with the mouse
appears at the bottom of the shortcut menu. All of these methods result in the arrival of the
appropriate formatting task pane.
The Chart Objects list doesn’t explicitly list all the elements you can format. Specifically, it
doesn’t allow you to select individual points in a data series, individual data labels, or
individual series names in a legend. You can select and format these items separately from their
companions, however. To do so, click the item in question twice (slowly—not a
doubleclick). The first click selects the set, and the second selects the member. After you refine
your selection to an individual item, the Chart Objects list confirms your selection; handles
do as well.
Repositioning chart elements with the mouse
You can move the chart title, axis titles, data labels, and legend by dragging them with the
mouse. You can also use your mouse to explode a pie slice or doughnut bite. Note, in
particular, that you can adjust the positions of individual data labels without moving an entire
series of labels; in addition, although Excel creates legends in certain fixed positions, you’re
free to drag them anywhere you like, even to the middle of the chart.
Unfortunately, although you can move data labels at will, you have no such freedom with
the tick-mark labels that appear along your axes. You can rotate these, but you cannot pick
them up and drop them elsewhere. In addition, you cannot do anything with individual axis
labels; you can modify them only as a group. Therefore, if you want to change the color of
a particular label or move it inside the plot area, you’re out of luck. You need to create
individual text annotations to serve as axis labels.
For information about rotating axis labels, see “Changing the rotation of axis labels” later
in this chapter. For information about adding text annotations, see “Adding arrows, shapes,
and text” later in this chapter.
Formatting lines and borders
Excel uses lines for axes, line charts, and trendlines. It also uses lines to create borders
around a variety of chart elements—the chart area, plot area, titles, legends, markers on
bar and column charts, and so on. Not all of these borders appear by default (for example,
chart titles are borderless by default), but all are available if you want them. You can also
add lines to annotate charts (as discussed in “Adding arrows, shapes, and text,” later in this
chapter), and the same formatting commands that are available for borders and chart lines
are also available for annotative lines.
Most of the formatting options are the same for all the various kinds of lines and borders.
You can color them, fatten them, change them from solid to dotted or dashed, and so on.
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