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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Basic Tasks with Charts

Unlike the orderly rows of numbers and labels that fill most worksheets, charts float above your data, locked inside special box-like containers. To take advantage of these chart boxes, you need to understand a little more about how they work.

Moving and Resizing a Chart

When you insert a chart into an existing worksheet, it becomes a floating object, hovering above your worksheet. Depending on where Excel puts it, it may temporarily obscure your data. The chart box doesn't damage your data in any way, but it can end up hiding your worksheet's numbers and text (both onscreen and in your printouts).

You have to learn to grab hold of these floating boxes and place them where you really want them. The process is pretty straightforward:

  1. Click the chart once to select it.

    You'll notice that when you select a chart, Excel highlights the worksheet data the chart uses, as shown in Figure 17-4. At the same time, three new tabs appear in the ribbon, under the Chart Tools heading.

    You'll know you've selected the chart when three new charting tabs appear in the ribbon under the Chart Tools heading.

    Figure 17-4. You'll know you've selected the chart when three new charting tabs appear in the ribbon under the Chart Tools heading.

  2. Hover over the chart border until the mouse pointer changes to a four-way arrow.

    Figure 17-5 shows what you're looking for.

    The four-way arrow is a signal that you can click here to move the chart. If you move to one of the corners, you'll see an angled two-way arrow, which lets you resize the chart.

    Figure 17-5. The four-way arrow is a signal that ...

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