How can I create and format charts in PowerPoint 2007?
The new charting options in Office 2007 are among the most significant advances Microsoft made to the suite. In PowerPoint and other Office programs, the default chart is no longer a drab, dull, and pale specimen. The minute you insert a new chart, you start with a smart contemporary-looking chart. Plus, it's easy to make changes through several drop-down galleries in the new Chart Tools Ribbon tabs.
The minute you hover over any of the samples in the galleries, your actual chart metamorphoses for an instant to show you how the finished chart would look if you selected that option. The process is much more intuitive when you do it than it is to explain. In this article, I show you how you can insert a chart and then describe how you can use the drop-down galleries to make quick changes.
Inserting a Chart
You can insert a chart in two ways:
- Start with a slide layout that includes a content placeholder, and click the chart icon in the content placeholder.
- Select the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the Chart button.
Either way, you end up seeing the Insert Chart dialog box.
The Insert Chart dialog box shows you samples for all of the charts. Some also include several subtypes for each chart type. Your choices change depending upon the type of chart that you choose in the left column. If you select the Column chart option, for example, you see different chart samples than you would see if you chose the Pie chart option.
Once you have zeroed in on the chart type you want, click that option. If you cannot find the exact chart type you want, just choose something that is similar. You can always change and tweak the chart later.
If you have Excel 2007 installed on the same system as PowerPoint 2007, you'll find that Excel loads with some sample data for the chart.
If you have PowerPoint 2007 installed without Excel 2007, inserting a chart results in the old interface and chart samples from the pre-Office 2007 era. The reason is because all charting capabilities are actually provided by Excel behind the scenes (even though you do not encounter Excel all the time).
Assuming you do have Excel 2007 installed, change the sample dummy values provided within the Excel sheet, and close Excel. The new values have already been charted on the PowerPoint slide. If you need to change values again, summoning Excel again is easy. Right-click the chart and choose Edit Data in the context menu.
Exploring the Ribbon Tabs
After you insert a chart, you can easily make quick changes by choosing ready-made designs in the drop-down galleries. When you select a chart, the Ribbon appears with three new Chart Tools tabs.
These Ribbon tabs are:
- Chart Tools Design
- Chart Tools Layout
- Chart Tools Format
Chart Tools Design
In the Chart Tools Design tab of the Ribbon, click the small downward pointing arrow within the Chart Layouts group to access a drop-down gallery. Depending on the chart type you selected on the active slide, you have many chart layouts to select from in this gallery. Click the layout type you want to apply it to the selected chart. The same Ribbon tab has options to change Chart Styles, edit the chart data, swap data between rows and columns of the datasheet, and change the chart type.
Chart Tools Layout
In the Chart Tools Layout tab of the Ribbon, click the Chart Title button to access the Chart Title drop-down gallery. Now choose any of the placement options for the Chart Title. The same Ribbon tab also has options that let you format the axis titles, legend, data labels, gridlines, and plot area.
Chart Tools Format
To work with any of the options in this tab of the Ribbon, you need to select an individual chart element, such as one of the chart series. Then you choose the Shape Styles group to access a drop-down gallery, so you can format all the chart elements representing the selected series. In the same way, you can change fills, effects, and outlines. You also can apply WordArt styles to any selected text.