The Plot Area for a chart is the layer or a backdrop upon which the chart itself is placed. This layer has axes on its perimeter and also, the Data Series and Gridlines are placed above this layer. By default, the Plot Area has no fill attributes, and thus it shows the slide's background. This may look plain, and that by itself is no reason to change the fill of the Plot Area. However, there are times when the slide background itself is busy, and adding a different fill to the Plot Area can then make the chart appear more clear.
There are various fills you can apply to the Plot Area, such as a solid color, a gradient, a picture/texture, or a pattern as shown in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Variants of the same chart with solid color, gradient, picture, and pattern fills applied to the Plot Area
Follow these steps to learn how to change the fill of a chart's Plot Area in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:
- Select the chart that you want to format the Plot Area for. If you don't have a chart, insert a new chart.
- Now, carefully right-click (or Ctrl+click) the Plot Area. From the resultant menu, select the Format Plot Area option, as shown in Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Format Plot Area option
- Doing so summons the Format Plot Area dialog box, as shown in Figure 3, below. Make sure that the Fill option is selected within the sidebar, as shown in Figure 3, below.
Figure 3: Format Plot Area dialog box
- Within the Format Plot Area dialog box, you can see various tabs representing Fill options for the Plot Area, highlighted in red within Figure 3, below. Let us explore each of them. For more information on each of these options, refer to the tutorials linked:
- This option is used to fill the Plot Area with a solid color. To learn more about this option, refer to our Apply Solid Fills to Plot Area in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
- Fills the Plot Area with a gradient fill. To learn more about this option, refer to our Apply Gradient Fills to Plot Area in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
- A picture or a texture can be used as a fill for the Plot Area using this option. Learn more about this option in our Apply Picture Fills to Plot Area in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac and Apply Texture Fills to Plot Area in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorials.
- You can also use one of 48 patterns offered by PowerPoint as a fill for Plot Area. To get more info, refer to our Apply Pattern Fills to Plot Area in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
- Select the required option and format the Plot Area as required. In Figure 4, you can see that the Plot Area of our sample chart is filled with pink (compare with partially visible chart in Figure 2, shown on this page previously).
Figure 4: Plot Area with a solid fill
- Save your presentation often.
Picture or Texture
Plot Area: Apply Fills to Plot Area (Glossary Page)