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Improved Chart Wizard

If you are upgrading from Excel 95, you will be pleased to discover a much-improved Chart Wizard 1. You can create both embedded charts and chart sheets with the wizard. There are many new and enhanced options, and the Office Assistant is programmed to provide assistance as you build your chart.

There are 14 standard chart types available in Excel 2000. The Cone, Cylinder, and Pyramid chart types 2 are variations of the column and bar charts. Figure 3.38 shows step 1 of 4 of the new Chart Wizard, with the Pyramid chart type selected. Another new chart type is the Bubble, a type of scatter chart. Pie of Pie and Bar of Pie are new variations of the Pie chart, which you can use to further break out specific components of a wedge of the original pie.

In addition to the standard chart types, there are 20 custom chart types. You will find special types, such as Combination charts and Logarithmic charts, under the custom types, as well as some of the standard chart types that have been modified with colorful backgrounds or shading.

Other chart improvements include

  • Easier editing of embedded charts.

  • Data tables now available in charts.

  • The number of data points plotted per series increased from 4,000 to 32,000.

  • New formatting options, such as using pictures or texture for fills and scaling marker size. Figure 3.39 shows an example of a picture fill used in a bar chart.

  • Chart tips 3 are available when you rest the mouse pointer over a chart object.

  • Improved display of text in charts, including text rotation 4.


Excel provides a number of good chart examples through the built-in help screens: Type chart examples in the Office Assistant search box and choose Examples of Chart Types.

FIG. 3.38 Step 1 of 4 of the Chart Wizard.

FIG. 3.39 A sample bar chart with picture fill.

More Readable Value Units

A new feature added in Excel 2000 is the capability to control the display of units on the value axis and in data labels. If your data consists of large values that display awkwardly on the value axis or as data labels, you can adjust the units displayed. For example, if your data is in the millions, you can display 30 instead of 30,000,000.

To change the display of the units on the value axis, select the value axis 1 in the chart. Choose Format, Selected Axis. In the Format Axis dialog box (shown in Figure 3.40), click the Scale tab. From the Display Units drop-down list, click the units you want to use. Figure 3.41 shows a chart that has the values displayed in millions. An axis label 2 automatically displays to indicate the units being shown.


Whatever unit you select to display on the value axis is the same unit that will be used to display data label values.

FIG. 3.40 Use the Format Axis dialog box to adjust value axis units.

FIG. 3.41 Chart axis modified to display value data in millions.

Improved Data Label Control

If you've struggled with the way data labels are displayed in Excel 95, you will be glad to discover the new data label formatting options. To see these options, you must first display the data labels on the chart; select the chart and choose Chart, Chart Options. In the Chart Options dialog box, click the Data Labels tab and choose Show Value.

Then in the chart select one of the data labels 1, to select all the data labels in that series. Choose Format, Selected Data Labels and click the Alignment tab in the Format Data Labels dialog box (see Figure 3.42). There are four Label Position options 2; the default is Outside End. Select the option you want and click OK. Select one of the data labels in the next series and repeat the formatting steps. Figure 3.44 shows a chart where both data series labels are positioned using the Inside End option. The font color for the second data series labels (Qtr 2) was changed to a lighter color so that the labels show up better against the column color.

FIG. 3.42 Excel 2000 Format Data Labels dialog box.

FIG. 3.43 Data labels repositioned inside the series columns.

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