Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 7: Formatting and Customizing Charts
When you move the cursor over a selected chart, a small “chart tip” displays the name of the chart
element under the mouse pointer. When the mouse pointer is over a data point, the chart tip also
displays the series, category, and value of the data point. If you find these chart tips annoying,
you can turn them off in the Advanced tab in the Excel Options dialog box. In the Chart section,
you’ll find two check boxes: Show Chart Element Names on Hover, and Show Data Point Values on
Some chart elements (such as a chart series, a legend, and data labels) consist of multiple items. For
example, a chart series is made up of individual data points. To select a single data point, you need to
click twice: First click the series to select it; then click the specific element within the series (for
example, a column or a line chart marker). Selecting an individual element enables you to apply formatting
only to a particular data point in a series. This might be useful if you’d like one marker in a line chart
to stand out from the others.
If you find that some chart elements are difficult to select with the mouse, you’re
not alone. If you rely on the mouse for selecting a chart element, it may take several
clicks before the desired element is actually selected. And in some cases, selecting
a particular element with the mouse is almost impossible. Fortunately, Excel provides
other ways to select a chart element, and it’s worth your while to be familiar with
Selecting with the keyboard
When a chart is active, you can use the up- and down-arrow keys on your keyboard to cycle among
the chart’s elements. Again, keep your eye on the Chart Elements control to verify which element is
When a chart series is selected, use the left- and right-arrow keys to select an individual data point
within the series. Similarly, when a set of data labels is selected, you can select a specific data label by
using the left- or right-arrow key. And when a legend is selected, you can select individual elements
within the legend by using the left- or right-arrow keys.
Selecting with the Chart Elements dropdown
As noted earlier, the Chart Elements drop-down list (found on the far left of the Chart Tools Format
tab) displays the name of the selected chart element. This control contains a drop-down list of all
chart elements (excluding shapes and text boxes), so you can also use it to select a particular chart
The Chart Elements drop-down list lets you select a particular chart element from the active chart
(see Figure 7-1). This drop-down list lists only the top-level elements in the chart. To select an
individual data point within a series, for example, you need to select the series and then use one of the
other techniques to select the desired data point.
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