Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Problems and limitations with data tables
Problems and limitations with data tables
One problem with data tables, as I mentioned previously, is that this feature is
available for only a few chart types. Formatting options for a data table are
relatively limited. Data table formatting changes are made in the Format Data Table
dialog box, which has two tabs: Patterns and Font. The Patterns tab is a bit
misleading because it does not actually allow you to change the patterns in the data
table. Rather, you are limited to formatting the borders for the data table. In
addition, the dialog box has an option to display the legend keys or not.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to apply different font formatting to individual
cells or rows within the data table. It is also not possible to change the number
formatting. The numbers displayed in a data table always use the same number
formatting as the source data.
When you add a data table to a chart, the data table essentially replaces the axis
labels on the horizontal axis. The first row of the data table contains these labels, so
losing them isn’t a major problem. However, you will not be able to apply separate
formatting to the axis labels — they will have the same formatting as the other parts
of the data table.
Another potential problem with data tables occurs when they are used with
embedded charts. If you resize the chart to make it smaller, the data table may not
show all the data.
An exception to the behavior described in the preceding paragraph occurs
with bar charts and charts with a time-scale category axis. For these types of
charts, the data table is positioned below the chart and does not replace any
axis labels.
Using a data table is probably best suited for charts on Chart sheets. If you need
to show the data used in an embedded chart, you can do so using data in cells,
which provides you with a lot more flexibility in terms of formatting.
Formatting 3-D Charts
One of the most interesting classes of Excel charts is 3-D charts. Certain situations
benefit from the use of 3-D charts because these charts let you depict changes over
two different dimensions. Even a simple column chart commands more attention if
you present it as a 3-D chart. Be aware, however, that the perspective of a 3-D chart
can often obscure differences among data points and make the chart more difficult
to understand.
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