Excel Tutorial: How To Add Border To Chart In Excel


When it comes to creating charts in Excel, adding borders to your charts can make a significant difference in the clarity and impact of your data presentation. The importance of adding borders to charts in Excel lies in the ability to enhance visual appeal and improve the readability of the data being presented. By clearly outlining the boundaries of each data point, you can improve comprehension and make key insights stand out.

Key Takeaways

  • Adding borders to charts in Excel can significantly improve the clarity and impact of data presentation.
  • Clear data visualization enhances visual appeal and improves the readability of the data being presented.
  • Customizing border options allows for highlighting important data points and maintaining consistency in border styles throughout the chart.
  • Best practices include avoiding excessive use of borders for clarity and experimenting with different border options for optimal presentation.
  • Troubleshooting common issues with chart borders, such as appearance and compatibility, is essential for a seamless data analysis and presentation experience.

Understanding Chart Borders in Excel

Adding borders to charts in Excel can help in enhancing the visual appeal and readability of the chart. Borders can separate the chart from the surrounding cells and make it stand out.

A. Explanation of the purpose of adding borders to charts

Adding borders to a chart in Excel serves several purposes. It helps in differentiating the chart from the rest of the data on the worksheet, making it easier to read and understand. Borders can also be used to highlight specific areas of the chart, such as the axes or data points, drawing attention to key information. Additionally, borders can give the chart a more polished and professional look.

B. Different types of borders available in Excel

Excel offers a variety of border styles that can be applied to charts. These include:

  • Outline border: This border goes around the entire chart, creating a clear boundary between the chart and the surrounding cells.
  • Data series border: This border can be applied to the individual data series within the chart, helping to distinguish between different sets of data.
  • Axis border: Borders can be added to the x and y axes of the chart, making it easier to track the data points and understand the scale of the chart.
  • Plot area border: This border surrounds the plot area of the chart, which contains the actual data and visual elements. It can help to define the boundaries of the chart more clearly.


Understanding the purpose and types of chart borders in Excel is important for creating professional and visually appealing charts. By adding borders to charts, you can make the data more understandable and draw attention to key information.

Step-by-Step Guide to Adding Borders to a Chart in Excel

Excel charts are a great way to visualize and analyze data. Adding borders to a chart can help emphasize and highlight important data points. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to add borders to a chart in Excel.

Accessing the chart in Excel

  • Open the Excel workbook containing the chart you want to add borders to.
  • Locate the worksheet with the chart or navigate to the specific tab where the chart is located.

Selecting the desired chart

  • Click on the chart to select it. This will activate the Chart Tools tab at the top of the Excel window.
  • If you have trouble selecting the chart, you can right-click on the chart and choose "Select Data" to ensure the correct chart is selected.

Navigating to the formatting options

  • Click on the Chart Tools tab at the top of the Excel window to access the formatting options.
  • From the Chart Tools tab, click on the "Format" option to reveal the various formatting choices.

Choosing the border style and color

  • Within the Format options, locate the "Shape Outline" or "Border" option.
  • Click on the dropdown menu to choose the desired border style, such as solid, dashed, or dotted.
  • Next, select the color for the border by clicking on the "Color" option and choosing from the available color palette.

Applying the border to the chart

  • Once you have selected the border style and color, click on the chart to apply the border.
  • The selected border style and color will now be applied to the chart, emphasizing the data and making it more visually appealing.
  • You can further customize the border by adjusting the thickness or weight of the border line.

Customizing Border Options

When creating a chart in Excel, adding a border can help emphasize the data and improve the overall visual presentation. Excel provides several options for customizing the borders of your chart, including adjusting the thickness, changing the color, and adding borders to specific chart elements.

Adjusting border thickness

Excel allows you to adjust the thickness of the borders on your chart to make them more prominent or subtle, depending on your preference. To do this, right-click on the border of the chart and select "Format Chart Area." In the "Format Chart Area" pane, navigate to the "Border Color" and "Border Styles" sections to adjust the thickness of the chart's border.

Changing the border color

Changing the border color can help to make your chart stand out and complement the overall design of your spreadsheet. To change the border color, right-click on the chart and select "Format Chart Area." In the "Format Chart Area" pane, navigate to the "Border Color" section, and choose a new color from the available options or create a custom color.

Adding borders to specific chart elements

In addition to adding a border to the entire chart, you can also add borders to specific chart elements, such as the plot area, data series, or axes. To do this, right-click on the specific chart element that you want to add a border to and select "Format [element][element]" pane, navigate to the "Border Color" and "Border Styles" sections to customize the border for that specific element.

Best Practices for Using Borders in Charts

When creating charts in Excel, adding borders can help to emphasize important data points and improve the visual appeal of the chart. However, it's important to use borders judiciously to avoid overwhelming the viewer. Here are some best practices for using borders in charts:

Using borders to highlight important data points

  • Choose the right data points: Use borders to highlight specific data points that are particularly noteworthy or significant. This can help draw the viewer's attention to key information within the chart.
  • Emphasize trends or patterns: Adding borders to specific lines or bars can help to emphasize trends or patterns within the data, making it easier for the viewer to interpret the chart.

Avoiding excessive use of borders for clarity

  • Keep it simple: Avoid adding borders to every element in the chart, as this can create visual clutter and make it difficult for the viewer to focus on the most important information.
  • Use borders sparingly: Instead, focus on using borders strategically to highlight only the most relevant data points or elements within the chart. This will help to maintain clarity and readability.

Consistency in border styles throughout the chart

  • Choose a cohesive style: When adding borders to elements within the chart, strive for consistency in terms of line weight, color, and style. This will create a more cohesive and professional-looking visual presentation.
  • Ensure uniformity: Whether using solid lines, dashed lines, or other border styles, make sure to apply them uniformly throughout the chart to maintain a polished and harmonious appearance.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Chart Borders

When working with Excel charts, adding borders can sometimes present challenges. Here are some common issues that users encounter and how to troubleshoot them.

A. Borders not appearing as expected
  • Check the border settings:

    Ensure that the border settings for the chart are properly configured. Go to the "Format Chart Area" menu and double-check the border options.
  • Adjust the line weight:

    Sometimes, the border may be too thin to be noticeable. Try increasing the line weight to make the border more visible.
  • Verify the chart type:

    Certain chart types, such as scatter plots, may not display borders as clearly as bar or line charts. Consider changing the chart type to see if it makes a difference.

B. Borders overlapping chart elements
  • Reposition the elements:

    If the borders are overlapping with other chart elements, such as data points or axis labels, try repositioning those elements to create more space for the borders.
  • Adjust the border style:

    Experiment with different border styles, such as dashed or dotted lines, to see if it reduces the overlap with other chart elements.
  • Resize the chart:

    Enlarge the chart area to provide more room for the borders without encroaching on other elements.

C. Compatibility issues with different versions of Excel
  • Update to the latest version:

    If you are experiencing compatibility issues with chart borders, consider updating to the latest version of Excel to take advantage of bug fixes and enhanced features.
  • Check for file format compatibility:

    Ensure that the file format you are using is compatible with the versions of Excel that you and your collaborators are using. For example, newer border styles may not be supported in older file formats.
  • Consult Excel support resources:

    If compatibility issues persist, reach out to Excel support or community forums to see if there are specific workarounds or solutions for your version of Excel.


Adding borders to charts in Excel is crucial for creating clear and visually appealing visual representations of data. It helps to emphasize the information being presented and improves the overall look of the chart. I encourage you to experiment with different border options in Excel to find the style that best suits your needs. Remember, a well-defined chart has a significant impact on data analysis and presentation, so it's worth taking the time to get it right.

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