Excel Tutorial: How To Change A Chart In Excel


When it comes to presenting data in Excel, it is important to do so effectively. One of the most valuable tools for visualizing data in Excel is the chart. Charts play a crucial role in helping to interpret and analyze data in a more visual and easily digestible format. In this tutorial, we will explore how to change a chart in Excel to best suit your data presentation needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Charts are valuable tools for visualizing and interpreting data in Excel.
  • Understanding the basics of Excel charts, such as the different types available and how to select the right chart for your data, is crucial.
  • Modifying the appearance of a chart, such as changing the title and axis labels, as well as adjusting the color and style, can greatly enhance its effectiveness.
  • Editing data in the chart, including adding or removing data series and editing individual data points, allows for customization and precision in data presentation.
  • Utilizing chart tools and design options, as well as tips for customizing charts in Excel, can streamline the process and lead to more impactful presentations.

Understanding the basics of Excel charts

Excel charts are a powerful tool for visualizing data and making it easier to understand. Whether you are new to Excel or a seasoned user, understanding the basics of Excel charts is essential for creating effective and impactful visualizations.

A. Different types of charts available in Excel
  • Column chart:

    This type of chart is best for showing data changes over a period of time or for illustrating comparisons among items.
  • Bar chart:

    Similar to a column chart, but uses horizontal bars instead of vertical columns.
  • Line chart:

    Ideal for showing trends in data over a period of time.
  • Pie chart:

    Useful for showing the proportion of individual items to the whole.
  • Scatter plot:

    This chart is perfect for showing the relationship between two sets of values.

B. Selecting the right chart for your data
  • Consider the data:

    Before choosing a chart type, it's important to consider the type of data you have and what you want to illustrate.
  • Choose the best visualization:

    Different chart types are better suited for different types of data. For example, if you want to show the percentage breakdown of sales by product, a pie chart would be more effective than a bar chart.
  • Keep it simple:

    It's important to keep the chart simple and easy to understand. Avoid cluttering it with too much information or unnecessary elements.

Modifying the appearance of a chart

When working with charts in Excel, it's important to not only accurately represent your data but also to make the chart visually appealing. Here are some ways you can modify the appearance of a chart in Excel.

A. Changing the chart title and axis labels
  • Chart title:

    To change the title of your chart, simply click on the existing title to select it. Then, type in the new title you want to use. You can also format the title by changing the font, size, and color.
  • Axis labels:

    To modify the axis labels, click on the axis label you want to change. You can then type in the new label you want to use or link the axis labels to specific cells in your spreadsheet for dynamic updating.

B. Adjusting the color and style of the chart
  • Chart color:

    To change the color of your chart, click on the chart area to select it. Then, go to the "Format" tab and choose from different color schemes or customize the colors to your preference.
  • Chart style:

    You can change the style of your chart by selecting a different chart design from the "Design" tab. This will update the look and feel of your chart without changing the underlying data.

Editing Data in the Chart

When working with charts in Excel, it's important to know how to edit the data to ensure your chart accurately represents the information you want to convey. This can include adding or removing data series and editing individual data points.

A. Adding or Removing Data Series
  • Adding a Data Series

    To add a new data series to your chart, you can simply select the chart and then click on the "Chart Tools" tab at the top of the screen. From there, you can click on the "Add Chart Elements" button and select "Data Series" from the dropdown menu. This will allow you to input the new data series and customize its appearance within the chart.

  • Removing a Data Series

    If you need to remove a data series from your chart, you can do so by selecting the chart and then clicking on the specific data series you want to remove. Once the data series is selected, you can press the "Delete" key on your keyboard to remove it from the chart.

B. Editing Individual Data Points
  • Changing Data Point Values

    If you need to edit the values of individual data points within your chart, you can do so by simply clicking on the data point you want to edit. This will activate the data point, allowing you to click and type new values directly onto the chart.

  • Customizing Data Point Appearance

    Additionally, you can customize the appearance of individual data points by right-clicking on the data point and selecting "Format Data Point." This will allow you to change the color, shape, size, and other visual aspects of the data point to better suit your needs.

Using chart tools and design options

When you want to change the appearance of a chart in Excel, the "Chart Tools" tab is your go-to resource. This tab provides a range of features and options for customizing the design of your chart.

Utilizing the "Chart Tools" tab

  • Selecting the chart: Click on the chart to select it, which will bring up the "Chart Tools" tab at the top of the Excel window.
  • Choosing a chart layout: Within the "Design" tab of the "Chart Tools," you can select from a variety of pre-defined chart layouts to change the overall appearance of your chart.
  • Formatting the chart: The "Format" tab within "Chart Tools" allows you to modify specific elements of the chart, such as colors, styles, and effects.
  • Adding chart elements: You can also use the "Chart Tools" tab to add or remove chart elements, such as titles, data labels, and legends.

Exploring various design options for charts

  • Choosing a chart type: Under the "Design" tab, you can change the type of chart by selecting a different chart style from the "Change Chart Type" option.
  • Customizing colors and styles: The "Format" tab offers a wide range of options for modifying the colors, styles, and effects of your chart to better suit your needs.
  • Adjusting chart layout: You also have the ability to fine-tune the layout of your chart by adding or removing chart elements and adjusting their positioning.
  • Applying chart templates: Excel provides a selection of pre-designed chart templates that can be applied to your chart to instantly change its appearance.

Tips for customizing charts in Excel

Customizing charts in Excel can help you create visually appealing and informative visual representations of your data. Here are some tips for customizing your charts to make them stand out and convey your data effectively.

Creating custom chart templates

  • Save a custom chart as a template: Once you have customized a chart to your liking, you can save it as a template for future use. This can save you time and ensure consistency in your charts across different reports.
  • Apply a custom template to a new chart: After you have created and saved a custom chart template, you can easily apply it to new charts in your Excel workbook. This can help you maintain a consistent look and feel across your charts.

Using keyboard shortcuts for quick changes

  • Access the Format Chart dialog box: Instead of navigating through the menus, you can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly access the Format Chart dialog box and make changes to your chart's appearance.
  • Quickly switch between chart elements: With keyboard shortcuts, you can easily select different elements of your chart, such as the plot area, data series, or chart title, and make adjustments without using the mouse.

By utilizing these tips, you can streamline the process of customizing your charts in Excel and create professional-looking visualizations of your data.


As we wrap up this Excel tutorial on how to change a chart in Excel, it's important to emphasize the significance of chart customization. Customizing your charts allows you to effectively communicate data and make it visually appealing. It's a valuable skill for anyone working with data. I encourage you to practice and experiment with the different chart options available in Excel. The more you familiarize yourself with the customization features, the more versatile and impactful your charts will become.

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