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Change Order of Chart Data Series in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to change the order in which Chart Data Series are displayed in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X

OK, so you want to change the order of your data series? Let's say your data series are Grapes, Apples, and Bananas -- and these show up in exactly the same order (see Figure 1).

Data Series selected within the Chart
Figure 1: Data Series selected within the Chart

Now, what if you want to change this order to Grapes, Bananas, and Apples? Yes, you could make these changes in the Excel sheet that contains the data for your PowerPoint chart, but there must be an easier way? Indeed, there is -- read further to learn.

To start with, you need a chart inserted and selected -- then follow these steps:

  1. Click on any Data Series to select it -- in Figure 1, above you can see that the entire 'Grapes' series has been selected.
  2. With the Data Series selected, select either the Chart Layout or the Format tab of the Ribbon. Both of these tabs contain the Current Selection group that you can see in Figure 2 towards the extreme left. Within this group, the Chart Elements selection box (highlighted in red within Figure 2) shows the name of the selected chart element -- make sure the Series is still selected. Then, click the Format Selection button (highlighted in blue within Figure 2).

    Format Selection button
    Figure 2: Format Selection button

    Alternatively, right-click the selected Series and from the contextual menu, select the Format Data Series option.
  3. Either of the above options will summon the Format Data Series dialog box -- select the Order option within the sidebar as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3. Within the dialog box, you can see all Data Series listed (highlighted in blue within Figure 3) in the same order as they appear in the selected chart. Also, notice that in Figure 3, the Move Up button is greyed out -- this is because the Data Series we have selected is in the first position, so it can't be moved up further.

    List of Data Series within Format Data Series dialog box
    Figure 3: List of Data Series within Format Data Series dialog box
  4. Within the Data Series list, click on the Series that you want to change the order of. In Figure 4 you can see that we have selected the second Data Series named 'Apples'. You can also see that the Move Up button is now active, since the selected Data Series 'Apples' is in the middle position and it can be moved up and down.

    Select the required Data Series
    Figure 4: Select the required Data Series
  5. If you want to move the selected Data Series towards front, then click the Move Up button -- if you want to move it towards end, click the Move Down button. As and when you click these buttons, you can see the changes happening in the selected chart simultaneously. In Figure 5 you can see that we have moved the 'Apples' Series to the end.

    Selected Data Series moved downwards
    Figure 5: Selected Data Series moved downwards
  6. Once you have reordered the Series as required, click the OK button within the Format Data Series dialog box. In Figure 6 you can see that the 'Apples' Series has been moved to the end (compare to Figure 1)

    Data Series reordered
    Figure 6: Data Series reordered
  7. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Change Order of Chart Data Series in PowerPoint 2013

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