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Change Order of Chart Data Series in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn how to change the order in which chart data series are displayed in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. This task is so much easier if you follow the steps in order.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher



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Typically the Data Series of a chart in PowerPoint is displayed in the exact sequence in which it is contained within the Excel sheet. If you want to change the order of the Data Series within the chart, you access the Excel sheet containing the chart data and reorder the columns representing the Data Series. But, what if you don't want to alter the Excel data, and want to reorder the Data Series within the PowerPoint chart itself? That's doable, and this tutorial will explain the process.

Note: To create and edit charts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows, you must have Excel 2013 also installed on the same system.

Our Data Series within the sample chart below are grapes, apples, and bananas, and these show up in exactly the same order within the chart, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.

Initial position of the Chart Data Series
Figure 1: Initial position of the Chart Data Series

Now, what if we want to change this order to apples, grapes, and bananas without bringing up the Excel data? Yes, we can make these changes within PowerPoint.

To start with, you need a chart inserted and selected within PowerPoint 2013 for Windows as shown in Figure 1, above. Then, follow these steps:

  1. With your chart selected, access the Chart Tools Design contextual tab of the Ribbon as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, below. Thereafter, click the Select Data button (highlighted in blue within Figure 2).
  2. Chart Tools Design contextual tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 2: Chart Tools Design contextual tab of the Ribbon
  3. This will summon the Select Data Source dialog box, as shown in Figure 3. Within this dialog box, you can see the Move Up and Move Down buttons as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, below. These buttons are used to change the order of the chart Data Series. In Figure 3, the Move Up button is greyed out because the selected Data Series (Grapes) is already at the top position within the Data Series list highlighted in blue within Figure 3, and thus can go no higher.
  4. Select Data Source dialog box
    Figure 3: Select Data Source dialog box
  5. Within the Data Series list, click on the Series that you want to change the order for. In Figure 4 you can see that we have selected the second Data Series named 'Apples' (highlighted in red within Figure 4). You can also see that the Move Up button is now active (highlighted in blue within Figure 3), since the selected Data Series 'Apples' is in the middle position and it can be moved either up or down.
  6. Apples Data Series selected
    Figure 4: Apples Data Series selected
  7. If you want to move the selected Data Series upwards, then click the Move Up button. If you want to move it downwards, click the Move Down button. As and when you click these buttons, you can see the changes happening within the selected chart simultaneously. We clicked the Move Up button since we wanted 'Apples' to appear as the first Data Series. In Figure 5 you can see that the 'Apples' Series has moved to the top within the Data Series list as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below.
  8. Apples Data Series moved up
    Figure 5: Apples Data Series moved up
  9. Once you have reordered the Series as required, click the OK button, highlighted in blue within Figure 5, above.
  10. In Figure 6 you can see that the 'Apples' Series has moved to the first position which is indicated within the Legend, highlighted in red within Figure 6 (compare to Figure 1, shown earlier on this page).
  11. Data Series reordered
    Figure 6: Data Series reordered
  12. Note that even though the Data Series is reordered within the chart, the data within the Excel sheet will not be changed.
  13. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Chart Data: Change Order of Chart Data Series (Glossary Page)

Change Order of Chart Data Series in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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