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Apply Gradient Fills to Plot Area of Charts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn to apply gradient fills to the Plot Area of a chart in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






There are various fills that you can apply to the Plot Area of a chart, such as a solid color, a picture, a texture, or a pattern, or a gradient fill. Gradient fills are typically blended fills between two or more colors that graduate from one color to another -- and if you use neutral or muted colors, then a gradient fill can provide a great, understated backdrop for your chart. In this tutorial, let us learn how to apply a gradient fill to the Plot Area of a chart:

  1. Select the chart that you want to format the Plot Area for. If you don't have a chart, insert a new chart.
  2. Now, carefully right-click (or Ctrl+click) the Plot Area -- from the resultant menu, select the Format Plot Area option, as shown in Figure 1.

    Format Plot Area option
    Figure 1: Format Plot Area option
  3. This summons the Format Plot Area dialog box, as shown in Figure 2. Make sure that the Fill option is selected within the sidebar (highlighted in red within Figure 2). Then select the Gradient tab (highlighted in blue within Figure 2) -- within this tab, at this point you can see that most of the options are greyed out. That is because, you haven't selected any gradient style yet -- this is indicated by the Style option set to None (highlighted in green within Figure 2).

    Format Plot Area dialog box
    Figure 2: Format Plot Area dialog box
  4. Choose any gradient style (highlighted in red within Figure 3) and all options within Gradient tab will be activated as shown in Figure 3.

    Gradient style selected within the Format Plot Area dialog box
    Figure 3: Gradient style selected within the Format Plot Area dialog box

    All gradient fill options within the Gradient tab of the Format Plot Area dialog box work similar to the options within the Gradient tab of the Format Shape dialog box, except the Rotate gradient with shape option. This is because the charts cannot be rotated.

    Note: Even though the Rotate gradient with shape check-box is available for selection within the Format Plot Area dialog box, selecting/deselecting it won't make any difference to the gradient fill. This is because you can't rotate the Plot Area.


    For more info on these options, refer to points 5-A to 5-G in our Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
  5. Select the required option from the Gradient tab of the Format Plot Area dialog box. In Figure 5 you can see the Format Plot Area dialog box showing the gradient setting options we choose for our sample chart's Plot Area. After selecting the required options, click the OK button within the Format Plot Area dialog box to get back to your slide.

    Gradient option set within the Format Plot Area dialog box
    Figure 5: Gradient option set within the Format Plot Area dialog box

    In Figure 6, you can see the Plot Area of our sample chart filled with a gradient fill (compare with partially visible chart in Figure 1).

    Plot Area applied with a solid fill color
    Figure 5: Plot Area applied with a gradient fill
  6. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Apply Gradient Fills to Plot Area of Charts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

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