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Adjust the Chart Gap Width in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn to adjust the gap width between chart categories in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. You may want to reduce or increase the gap width if you have too many or too few chart categories.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X



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Presentation Management 03: Visual Storytelling



The gap width within a chart is the space between two series points, as shown with red arrows within Figure 1, below. As you can see, this gap width exists between a set of columns, which together represent a category. This gap is set to 150% of the width of individual data series (columns) by default but you can change this percentage value.

Chart with default gap width
Figure 1: Chart with default gap width

Usually the gap width is automatically calculated based on the chart data and the plot area. Thus, if you have many data series represented by thin columns, this gap width will be very narrow. The opposite is also true, and you'll see wider gap widths when there are fewer data series. Even then, there is scope for some change in the gap width. You can quickly increase or decrease this width.

Follow these steps to explore changing the gap width between categories in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

  1. Select the chart that you want to change the gap width for. If you don't have a chart, insert a new chart.
  2. Now, carefully right-click (or Ctrl+click) any of the data series. From the resultant menu, select the Format Data Series option, as shown in Figure 2, below.
  3. Format Data Series option
    Figure 2: Format Data Series option
  4. This action summons the Format Data Series dialog box, as shown in Figure 3, below. Within the side bar, select Options. Here, you will find the Gap width option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, below.
  5. Format Data Series dialog box
    Figure 3: Format Data Series dialog box
  6. You can either directly type the required gap width percentage value within the box provided, or click the Up or Down arrow buttons next to the box to increase or decrease the value by 1% per click. Decrease the value for smaller gap width and increase it for larger gap width. In Figure 4, below the chart has the gap width set to zero, whereas the chart within Figure 5 has the gap width set to 250%. Compare Figures 1, 4, and 5.
  7. Most certainly, you will want your gap width to be something in between the two extremes shown in Figures 4 and 5.
  8. Chart has the gap width set to zero
    Figure 4: Chart has the gap width set to zero
  9. Chart has the gap width set to 250%
    Figure 5: Chart has the gap width set to 250%
  10. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Advanced Chart Techniques: Adjust the Chart Gap Width (Glossary Page)

Adjust the Chart Gap Width in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

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