Charting- Changing the Plot Area

Charts are a great way to display trends.  One thing you can change is the background, known in Excel as the plot area.

The exercise and result are in the Chart_Plot file.

Here is a bad debt chart with the standard formatting:

Notice that some colors do not show up well.  Right click the chart and select format the plot area (i.e the background of the chart).

This brings up the plot area format dialog box.

We usually like to use a light color, such as the lightest yellow.  Plain white could be just too plain or bright.

A little better.  One other thing you can do on the plot area.  Increase the size.  Click on the top line of the plot area and drag up the plot area.  You will see a dotted line showing where the plot area would go as you move it (see the dotted lines below, the mouse arrow did not show up in our copy).  Notice we keep it still below the title.

Here is the end result.  Still work to be done on the lines, but that will be covered in the next lesson.

While not needed here, another adjustment can be the scale.  We did not need to change it, but if you find too much space at the top, you might want to double click on the Y scale and change it so there is less space above the data.

Next we will punch up the lines.

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