Format Charts

Learning Outcomes

  • Format a chart

Here are formatting options to use on charts in PowerPoint.

  1. Open a PowerPoint chart slide and click on the chart. This opens the Chart Design and Format tabs. Make sure the Format tab is selected for the next steps.
    PowerPoint presentation screenshot of Format tab ribbon options open to modify a chart.
  2. Current Selection: On the far left of the Format tab ribbon is the Current Selection group.
    1. The drop-down area indicated what in the chart is currently selected. To select a different area, either click on that area or select it from the drop-down menu in this group.
    2. Format Selection button opens a Format Chart Area (or another menu depending on what is selected in the chart) to the right of the slide. Options to change the format of the chart are available; changing the fill, border, shadow effects, 3-D effects, rotation, etc. are available to format a chart.
      PowerPoint presentation screenshot of Format tab, current selection and format chart area menu open for a chart.
    3. Reset to Match Style: This option returns the chart elements to their original visual style before customization. If after working on changing the style of a chart it doesn’t work, (for example, colors clash) this button allows the chart to clear chart elements and return to their starting place.
  3. Insert Shapes: If an additional shape or object needs to be added to a chart this is the group to use. For example, there are call out shapes where additional notes can be made to highlight specific information about a chart. Select the shape, insert it into the slide and move it onto the best position for the slide.
    PowerPoint presentation screenshot of Format tab, insert shapes menu.
  4. Shape Styles: This group changes a shapes style, fill, outline or effects. For example, if one of the shapes in the pie chart needs to stand apart and be a different color, select it, use the drop-down menu of Shape Fill and select a new color.
    PowerPoint presentation screenshot of Format tab, shape fill color options.
  5. WordArt Styles: To format the chart title or any of the text in a chart, select the text, WordArt Styles group, then choose the style, fill, outline or text effects for the text. In this example, the chart title has been formatted with a new color and shadow effect.
    PowerPoint presentation screenshot of Format tab, WordArt text effects options menu.
  6. Accessibility: Used to input a text description of the slide and chart to use those who are visually impaired.
  7. Arrange: Multiple charts to be treated as objects and arranged (sent forward or back) with other slide objects. These options are restricted if only a portion of a chart is selected and not the entire chart.
  8. Size: If a chart is selected and the size group arrow clicked, the Format Data Point menu opens to the right. From this menu a section of a chart can be called out in this pie chart by increasing the Pie Explosion percentage or a chart is rotated by changing the Angle of first slice option.
PowerPoint presentation screenshot of Format tab, Format Data Point, calling out a piece of pie chart.

Practice Questions