Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Using Pictures in Excel Charts Part 2

Nearly every part of an Excel Chart can have the area modified to a texture, a gradient fill, a pattern or a picture. What this means is that you don't have to use the standard Excel colours for the series of a chart, the background, the plot area, legend background etc.
Simple changes involve selecting a part of a chart, eg the chart area and using the format dialog to change it.
In the format dialog box choose the Patterns Tab. This is broken into two areas, Border and Area. At the bottom of the Area section is a button called Fill Effects. Clicking this opens another dialog box. This has 4 tabs, Gradient, Texture Pattern and Picture.
You can use the picture tab to select a picture from your pc or network and load it into the graph.
The other options are also useful. Patterns and textures can be used to create various effects. Gradient fills allow you to combine colours in groovy ways. There are even some Presets fills you can select.
As in all presentations, ensure you use contrasting and blending colours and fills and not garish combinations that set your viewers teeth on edge!

For a list of extensive advanced graph modifications including speedometer, thermometer, tile charts and other AJP Excel Information has some awesome examples and step by step instructions. Note these require a fairly advanced understanding of Excel Charts.