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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chapter 18. Formatting and Perfecting Charts

In the previous chapter, you learned how Excel charts work and how you can transform ordinary tables of information into graphical representations, complete with columns, bars, lines, and even bubbles. But creating the right chart is only half the battle. The next step is refining your charts so they convey their point more effectively. Often this step means tweaking the chart's formatting, inserting labels, and fine-tuning the scale. But if you're really ambitious, you'll want to tackle more advanced professional charting techniques, like trendlines, overlays, and combination charts. These techniques let you turn plain-vanilla charts into polished graphics—like the ones you see in magazines, annual reports, and brochures.

In this chapter, you'll start by looking at how you can use basic formatting techniques to change the color and font of different chart components. Then you'll learn how to set a chart's scale, unleash 3-D views, and make your data stand out no matter what type of chart you use.

Chart Styles and Layouts

In Chapter 6, you learned how cell styles let you take ready-made formatting and apply it to your data to glitz up the dullest worksheet. For the same reason, Excel provides a set of chart styles that you can use to give the plainest chart a makeover.

Like cell styles, chart styles draw from the colors, fonts, and shape effects that are part of each theme (Styles and Themes). If you use the Trek theme, your chart styles ...

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