Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Adding Chart Elements
• Plot Area . The plot area is the chart’s background, where the gridlines are drawn.
In a standard chart, the plot area is plain white, which you can customize.
• Chart Area . The chart area is the white space around the chart. It includes the
space that’s above, below, and to either side of the plot area.
• Gridlines . The gridlines are the lines that run across the plot area. Visually, you
line the data up with the gridlines to get an idea of the value of each data point.
Every chart starts out with horizontal gridlines, but you can remove them or
add vertical gridlines. You can tell Excel how many gridlines to draw, and even
how to format them.
• Data Series . The data series is a single set of data plotted on the chart across
the category axis. In a line chart, for example, the data series is a single line. If
a chart has multiple series, you’ll often find it useful to format them separately
to make them easier to differentiate or to emphasize the most important one.
• Data Point . A data point is a single value in a data series. In a line chart, a data
point is a single dot, and in a column chart, a data point is a single column. If
you want to call attention to an exceptionally important value, you can format a
data point so it looks different from the rest of the series.
Before you can begin tweaking
your chart’s formatting, you need
to know the names of the different
elements you’ll find on a chart, all
of which are labeled here.
Not all charts include all these elements; the layout you pick determines whether you
begin with a chart title, a legend, gridlines in the background, and so on. However, in
many cases you’ll want to pick and choose exactly the elements you want. Excel lets
you do this with the buttons on the ribbon’s Chart Tools | Layout tab. The following
sections show you how.