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

Learn to apply solid fills to the Plot Area of a chart in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. You'll benefit from this approach if you have a busy slide background.

You can apply any fill to your chart's Plot Area. Typically, the Plot Area possesses no fill attributes, and thus shows the slide's background. The reason why you would like to change this attribute is to highlight the Data Series and Gridlines that populate your chart's Plot Area, especially if you have a busy slide background.

There are various fills that you can apply to the Plot Area, such as a solid color, a gradient, a picture, a texture, or a pattern. In this tutorial, let us learn how to apply a solid fill to the chart's Plot Area.

Follow these steps to explore more in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

  1. Select the chart that you want to format the Plot Area for. If you don't have a chart, you can 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, below.

  3. Figure 1: Format Plot Area option
  4. Doing so 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 Solid tab (highlighted in blue within Figure 2). Within this tab, click the Color drop-down, highlighted in green within Figure 2.

  5. Figure 2: Format Plot Area dialog box
  6. Doing so opens the Color drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3.

  7. Figure 3: Color drop-down gallery
  8. The options in the Color drop-down gallery are explained below. You'll need to choose any of these options for the fill:
  9. A. Automatic

  10. Choose this option to select the default fill for the Plot Area. The default may differ depending upon the Chart Style applied.
  11. B. No Fill

  12. This option removes any fill from the selected Plot Area.


  13. C. Theme Colors

  14. Here you can select any of the colors which are from the active Theme of the presentation. You can also select any of the 5 tints or shades for any Theme color. Learn more about Themes here.
  15. D. Standard Colors

  16. Here you can choose from any of the ten standard colors. These ten standard colors are just choices of colors that PowerPoint believes to be widely used. You don't have to limit yourself to either the Theme colors or Standard colors, as you'll learn in the next options. It's a good design idea to use Theme colors as far as possible.
  17. E. Recent Colors

  18. Here you can find the colors most recently used. If you have just launched PowerPoint and created a new presentation, the Recent Colors option may be entirely absent since you haven't selected any color recently!
  19. F. More Colors

  20. This option is to summon the Mac OS X Color picker, as shown in Figure 4.

  21. Figure 4: Mac OS X Color picker
  22. In this Color picker, you can choose any color from the wheel. Thereafter adjust the selected color's luminosity within the long, thin slider on the right. Once you are happy with the color attained, you click OK to get back to the Format Plot Area dialog box.
  23. If you want to reduce the transparency of the fill, use the Transparency slider that you can find within the Solid tab of the Format Plot Area dialog box that you can see in Figure 2, previously on this page. Once you select a solid color, the Transparency slider will no longer be grayed out.
  24. Select the required color from the Color drop-down gallery to fill the Plot Area. Then click OK button within the Format Plot Area dialog box to get back to your slide. In Figure 5, you can see that the Plot Area of our sample chart is filled with a pale pink color (compare with partially visible chart in Figure 1).

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

See Also:

Plot Area: Apply Solid Fills to Plot Area of Charts (Glossary Page)

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