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Adjust the Chart Gap Width in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn to adjust the gap width between chart categories in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. 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 2013 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher



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The gap width within a chart is the space between two categories, as indicated by red arrows within the column chart you see in Figure 1, below. We created the chart you see here within PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. This is a clustered column chart type, and the gap width here is set to 219% of the width of individual data series (columns). We now want to alter this gap width.

Clustered Column chart with default gap width
Figure 1: Clustered Column chart with default gap width

The gap width is automatically calculated by default based on the chart data and the plot area space. Thus, if you have many data categories 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. Yet, you can manually make some changes in the gap width as required by quickly increasing or decreasing this width.

Follow these steps to explore changing the gap width between categories in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows:

  1. Select the chart that you want to change the gap width for. If you don't have an existing chart, insert a new chart.
  2. Now, carefully right-click any of the data series. From the resultant menu, select the Format Data Series option, as shown in Figure 2, below. If you do not see the Format Data Series option in the contextual menu, you may have right-clicked on another chart element. Make sure you then deselect everything in the chart, and then right-click on any series (for example, a single column within a column chart).
  3. Format Data Series option
    Figure 2: Format Data Series option
  4. This action summons the Format Data Series Task Pane, as shown in Figure 3, below. Click the Series Options button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, below. Here, you will find the Gap Width option, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 3, below.
  5. Series Options within Format Data Series Task Pane
    Figure 3: Series Options within Format Data Series Task Pane
  6. You can either directly type the required gap width percentage value within the box provided, or click the Up or Down arrow buttons 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 0% whereas the chart within Figure 5 has the gap width set to 500%. Compare Figures 1, 4, and 5.
  7. Chart has the gap width set to 0%
    Figure 4: Chart has the gap width set to 0%
  8. Chart has the gap width set to 500%
    Figure 5: Chart has the gap width set to 500%
  9. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

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

Adjust the Chart Gap Width in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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