Working with Charts

PowerPoint charts let you communicate data graphically. Use charts in PowerPoint to help see the meaning behind the numbers.

Modifying charts with chart tools

Video: Modifying Charts in PowerPoint 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (1:55).

There are many ways to customize and organize your charts. For example, PowerPoint allows you to change the chart type, rearrange a chart's data, and even change the layout and style.

Once you insert a chart, a set of chart tools will appear on the Ribbon. These are only visible when the chart is selected. You can use the three tabs grouped under Chart Tools to modify your chart.

The Chart Tools tabThe Chart Tools tab

To change the chart type:

  1. From the Design tab, click the Change Chart Type command. A dialog box will appear.
    The Change Chart Type commandThe Change Chart Type command
  2. Select the desired chart type.
    Choosing a new chart typeChoosing a new chart type
  3. Click OK. The chart will update to reflect the new chart type.
    The modified chartThe modified chart

To switch row and column data:

Sometimes when you create a chart, the data may not be grouped the way you want it to. In the clustered column chart below on the left, the Book Genre Sales statistics are grouped by genre, with a column for each year. However, you could also switch the row and column data so the chart will group the statistics by year, with columns for each genre, as in the chart on the right. In both cases, the chart contains the same data; it's just organized differently.

ChartSales Chart before and after switching row and column data
  1. Select the chart.
  2. From the Chart Tools Design tab, select the Edit command in the Data group. The Excel placeholder will open.
  3. Return to your PowerPoint slide. Select the Switch Row/Column command in the Data group.
    The Switch Row/Column CommandThe Switch Row/Column Command
  4. The chart will adjust the data.

To change the chart layout:

  1. Select the Chart Tools Design tab.
  2. Click the More drop-down arrow in the Chart Layouts group to see all of the available layouts.
    The More Layouts drop-down arrowThe More Layouts drop-down arrow
  3. Select the desired layout.
    More chart layout choicesSelecting a new layout
  4. The chart will update to reflect the new layout.
    The modified chartThe modified chart

Some layouts include things like chart titles and legend labels. To change them, place the insertion point in the text and begin typing.

Changing the chart titleChanging the chart title

To change the chart style:

  1. Select the Chart Tools Design tab.
    The Chart Styles groupThe Chart Styles group
  2. Click the More drop-down arrow in the Chart Styles group to see all of the available styles.
  3. Select the desired style.
    Selecting a new chart styleSelecting a new chart style
  4. The chart will update to reflect the new style.
    The modified chartThe modified chart