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Charley's Swipe File #27

This Excel chart is unusual in its colors, title, legend, column widths, X-axis labels, bottom note, and more…and all add to its professional look.


by Charley Kyd, MBA
Microsoft Excel MVP, 2005-2014
The Father of Spreadsheet Dashboard Reports

Charley's Swipe File #27Besides its original color scheme, you might notice several unusual features about this chart figure:

  1. The title doesn’t look like ordinary Excel chart titles.

  2. The legend isn’t one that Excel normally supports.

  3. The column plots use different widths.

  4. The X-axis labels are unusual for Excel charts.

  5. The bottom note isn’t an Excel chart option.

If you’ve worked with any of my other charts, Items 1 and 5 should be old hat by now. These labels aren’t part of the chart object; instead, they’re merely text in cells behind the chart.

The other three items help to give the chart figure its professional appearance. Here’s how I set them up…

The Legend consists of two colored rectangles and two text boxes.

Unlike most text boxes, these text boxes are linked to text values in cells. To establish this link, enter some text in a cell, then draw a text box nearby. Click on the boundary of the text box; enter an equal sign in your formula bar; then click on the cell with the text. Now, when you change the text in the cell, and then recalculate, the text box will display your new text.

After I used Excel drawing features to create these objects, I used its Align commands to align the objects. (To do so, select the objects to align. Then in New Excel, find Align in the Drawing Tools Format tab. In Classic Excel, display the Drawing toolbar if necessary, then find the Align command in the Draw menu at the far left of the Drawing toolbar.)

After I arranged the objects as I wanted, I used Excel’s Grouping feature to group them together so I could drag them where I wanted within the chart figure.

The Column Plots require several tricks to set their widths... 

(Continued in the documentation.)

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