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Formatting Graphs in Excel

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How to format graphs in Excel

Learn how to format graphs in Excel for a more professional look: remove gridlines, style your graph title and rename axis labels.

You just created a graph in MS Excel but you don’t like how it looks? Learn how to format graphs easily and how to modify elements such as chart labels or legend.

Graphs help you maximise the impact on your audience (customers, manager, teachers) while presenting data. It’s easier to understand the relationship between different elements. You can also highlight visually some trends like an increase in sales or how you helped your customers reducing their CPA.

Are you ready to learn how to style a graph?

An Excel graph contains some basic elements, such as a title, a legend or chart labels. You can change or format these elements the way you like.

First, let recap where you could find these basic elements… in a graph.

  1. Graph title
  2. Axis title
  3. Legend
  4. Axis labels
  5. Gridlines

Find out how to format graphs with this free tutorial: change chart labels, graph title, remove gridlines and customise legends.

Click your graph for the Chart Design tab to appear in Excel.

Modify the text or style of your graph labels easily to impress your audience; change axis labels text or add data labels to highlight important numbers.

Change the text of the labels

Change the text of axis labels in Excel by typing the text you want in each cell containing the data of your graph.

For example, if you want to modify the labels A, B, C and D to Ad A, Ad B, Ad C and Ad D, change the text directly in column B. The system will update automatically the labels in your graph.

How to add data labels in a graph

Enable data labels by selecting Chart Design, Add Chart Element then go to Data Labels and select the style you like.

If you wish to add labels for some but not all data, select the data in your graph first: the system will then add data labels only for the data you selected.

You can also change the position of each data label, individually, by clicking on it.

To style a graph title in Microsoft Excel, select it with a left click to change the text or modify the formatting in the Format Chart Title tool. Shortcuts like Command+B (bold) work too!

To remove gridlines on your graph, go to Chart Design then Add Chart Element. Select Gridlines and disable gridlines by unticking the selected option.

To move the legend of your chart in Excel, right-click the legend and select Format Legend… for the options to appear or double click the legend in your graph.

On Mac, there is no shortcut to create a graph automatically but you can create some Charts shortcuts yourself by going to Tools, Customise Keyboard and by selecting Chart Tools in Categories. You will then have plenty of commands to choose from.

If you don’t know how to create shortcuts in Excel, check this tutorial.

Now, you know how to format a graph in Excel: how to change the legend position, how to style your graph title, how to remove gridlines, etc.

Learn more Excel tips and tricks with Ted Jordan by joining our Online Course now. Master MS Excel at your own pace and get certified at the end of the course. Join the Course now!