Formatting Chart in Excel (8 Suitable Ways)

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Working with Excel charts is always fascinating. However, if you need formatting chart in Excel, you may get confused since there are a lot of formatting options available for all chart elements in Excel. In this article, you will learn how to format a chart in Excel and give it a sophisticated look.

A chart is often hard to understand for those who are new in this area. If you can format it in a nice way, it becomes easy to understand. Proper chart formatting increases the visual clarity of data. Also, we can highlight specific data points and keep emphasizing them. Not only that, the formatting chart also helps us to identify errors in the dataset.

Download Practice Workbook

You may download the following workbook to practice yourself.

How to Insert Chart from Data in Excel

Inserting charts in Excel is very simple. Just select the dataset and click any of the available charts in the Charts group under the Insert tab.

Inserting Chart in Excel

We have selected the Clustered Column in the 2-D Column group. Our output is similar to the following image.

Clustered Column in Excel

Chart Elements in Excel

There are different types of chart elements available in Excel. The list of chart elements is given below.

  • Axes
  • Axis titles
  • Chart titles
  • Data labels
  • Data table
  • Error bars
  • Gridlines
  • Legend
  • Trendline

Chart Elements in Excel

Formatting Chart in Excel: 8 Suitable Ways

1. Formatting X and Y Axis

In the previous section, we saw how to insert a chart in Excel. You may notice that the Y-axis scale starts at 0, which is okay because the numbering system starts at zero. But the scale expands up to 120 marks. We will change it to 100 since the highest possible mark is 100.

  • To do that, we will right-click on the Y-axis of the graph and then select the Format Axis.

Formatting Y-Axis

  • Doing so, you will find that the Format Axis pane has appeared. There is a change in the value, as you can see in the following image.

Changing Axis Maximum Value

Now, you will find that the highest value on the Y-Axis is 100.

Changing Highest Y-Axis Value

  • There are many other options to change the Y-Axis appearance. For example, you can add Tick Marks next to the axis. Just look at the following image to add tick marks.

Adding Tick Marks to Axis

Eventually, the chart will look like the following image.

Effect of Adding Tick Marks

  • It is also possible to change the number format of the Y-Axis label. We want to change it to a Scientific number format. Look at the following image to do that.

Changing Number Format Y-Axis Label

  • The last possible formatting of the axis is the Labels. We will change it to High,like in the following image.

Changing the Position of Labels

Changing these, we get a chart similar to the image below.

Scientific Number Format of Y-Axis Label

2. Formatting Chart Title

In this step, we will change the chart title. Double-click on the title and write down the title that you want to give as the title. We gave “Number Obtained by Students” as the title of the chart.

  • Then change the color of the text. Change the Text Fill to Solid Fill and choose the color according to your own choice.

Choosing Color for Text

  • Also, change the Fill of the chart and choose Solid Fill. And select any color as you wish.

Giving Color for Title Fill

You will find that the chart title looks very attractive now.

Final Look of Chart Title

3. Chart Legend Formatting

Now, it’s time to modify the chart legend. You can also change the appearance of the legend in the chart. If you need to do that, do the same as the previous method. But, at this stage, we want to see how to change the position of the legend in the chart.

  • Click on the chart legend and look at the Format Legend
  • Under the Legend Options group, click on Top Right. You will see that the position of the legend has changed, as shown in the following image.

Changing Legend Position

4. Data Label Formatting

Adding data labels to charts is very simple. You may need to show the readers the value of any point in the chart to help them understand.

  • To do that, click on the “+” button on the right corner of the chart.
  • Check the Data Labels box there. You are done!

Adding Data Labels

Sometimes, you may work with large numeric values. In that case, the data label will also be large and looks weird. In the following image, you can see what happens if the data label is very large.

Large Data Labels

  • We want to solve the issue. To do that, open Format Data Labels
  • Scroll down and find the option Number. Click to expand it.
  • In the Category drop-down menu, select Custom.
  • Write down the following format in the Format Code

When you apply this format to data labels, it transforms into the following image.

Using Different Format for Data Label

5. Formatting Data Series

We need to modify the data series to represent the data in a suitable way. Two different data series in our chart have two different colors. We will change the color of one data series.

  • Click on any column in the desired data series.
  • Right-click on that and select Format Data Series from the Context Menu.

Selecting Format Data Series from Context Menu

  • In the Format Data Series pane, change the color to Navy-blue or a suitable color (You can also change the border color).

Modify Data Series Color

You can also change the distance between two adjacent columns in the chart.

  • In the same pane, click on the Series Options and change the Gap Width value to “0”.

Change Gap Width of Series

Consequently, the chart will change. It looks similar to the following image.

Output of Changing Gap Width in Chart

Read More: How to Change Chart Color Based on Value in Excel

6. Change Chart Style

You may change the chart style to give your chart a unique look.

  • First, click on the chart, and you will find that a “Paint brush icon” appears in the top-right corner of the chart.

Chart Style Changing Icon

When you click on the icon, you will find the available charts there. Choose any of them according to your purpose.

Changing Chart Style

7. Change Chart Type

Suppose you are working with a specific chart format in Excel. But you need to change it to a different chart type. Maybe you are tense, right? No problem! You can change the chart type at any point in your work.

  • Right-click on any column of the chart. From the Context Menu, click on Change Series Chart Type.

Changing Series Chart Type

  • The Change Chart Type box will appear. Select the appropriate chart from there.

Selecting Exact Chart Type

8. Formatting Chart Area

The default chart area color is white. However, you can change the color when you need. You will have to change this from the Format Chart Area pane.

  • Change the color of the chart, as you can see in the following image.

Changing Color of Chart Area

The output chart will be similar to the following image.

Output of Changing Chart Area Color

Read More: How to Make Excel Graphs Look Professional

[Solved!] Excel Charts Not Showing

In some cases, it is possible that you won’t find any charts in your workbook. You may be afraid in that situation. But no worries! You will have to change one setting in your workbook.

Charts Disabled in Excel

  • To solve this, go to File in the ribbon and then select Options.
  • In the Excel Options box, click on Advanced and scroll down to find the option For Object, Show:

Enabling Charts in Excel

You will find that all types of charts are available in your worksheet.

Things to Remember

  • You can change the border and fill option of almost all the chart elements.
  • It is possible to apply different chart types to different data series in Excel.
  • The best way to give the chart an artistic look is to change the chart style.


Hey! You have reached the end of the article on formatting chart in Excel. You can use these techniques to give your chart a sophisticated look. Also, you can apply some other formatting types to your chart. However, If you find this article helpful, please share it with your friends. Moreover, do let us know if you have any further queries. Finally, please visit our site for more exciting articles on Excel.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it possible to resize and move the chart to fit my worksheet better?

Yes, you can resize and move the chart by clicking on the chart, and then dragging the handles.

2. How to change the chart type after creating the chart?

You can change it from “Change Series Chart Type” after right-clicking on any series.

3. Is it possible to format specific data points differently, such as changing the color of a particular bar or data marker?

Right-click on the point and use the Format Data Series option to change the point’s appearance.

4. What is the difference between Chart Style and Chart Type?

Chart Type refers to the specific graphical representation of data while chart Style refers to the visual appearance and formatting applied to the chart elements.

Formatting Chart in Excel: Knowledge Hub

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Md Junaed-Ar-Rahman, a Biomedical Engineering graduate from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, has contributed to the ExcelDemy project for one year. As a technical content developer, he has authored 15+ unique articles and actively addressed user problems. He participated in 2 specialized training programs on VBA and Chart & Dashboard design in Excel. His passion lies in solving problems uniquely and exploring new functions and formulas. Eager for future exploration, he aims to gain proficiency in applications... Read Full Bio

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