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Changing Color for Negative Data Series of Charts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to change the default white color for chart negative values in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






When you select the invert if negative option for a chart that has any negative data values in a series, you end up seeing those negative series with an inverted gradient fill (see Figure 1 later on this page). Since there appears little difference between the gradient fill used for positive and negative values as far as appearance is concerned, you may wish your negative series to show in a solid color that contrasts with the positive series. This color can be red (or any other color). In this tutorial, let us learn how you can do so in PowerPoint 2011.

Follow these steps to change the color fill of any negative data series in your PowerPoint 2011 charts:

  1. Select the chart that has data with negative values, and for which you have already selected the invert if negative option, as shown in Figure 1. Select the data series by clicking on it (again see Figure 1), alternatively you can select the data series from the Chart elements drop-down list.

    Chart with Invert if Negative option selected
    Figure 1: Chart with Invert if Negative option selected
  2. With the chart series selected, select either the Chart Layout or the Format tab of the Ribbon that you can see in Figure 2. Within any of these tabs, you will find the Current Selection group towards the extreme left as you can see in Figure 2. Within this group, make sure that the Chart Elements drop-down list (highlighted in red within Figure 2) is displaying the name of the selected data series. Then, click the Format Selection button below it (highlighted in blue within Figure 2).

    Format Selection button to be clicked with the correct data series selected
    Figure 2: Format Selection button to be clicked with the correct data series selected
  3. This summons the Format Data Series dialog box, make sure you have the Fill option selected in the sidebar and the Solid tab of this dialog box active, you should see the same options as displayed in Figure 3, below. At this point, we are assuming that you have already selected the Invert if Negative option (highlighted in red within Figure 3).

    Format Data Series dialog box
    Figure 3:Format Data Series dialog box
  4. To set a different color for a negative value series, we need to set foreground and background color options. This involves an ironical detour to the Pattern tab of Format Data Series dialog box (highlighted in red within Figure 4). Choose the pattern named 90% (highlighted in blue within Figure 4), this activates all options within the Pattern tab, as shown in Figure 4.

    Options within Pattern tab
    Figure 4: Options within Pattern tab
  5. Now, chose a solid color from the Background color gallery that you can see in Figure 5, this color will be used as a fill for negative values. We selected red because it goes well with the negative concept (see Figure 5). Click OK to go back to your chart with the new fills.

    Background color selected for negative values
    Figure 5: Background color selected for negative values
  6. Figure 6 shows how the chart looks. Now, we can optionally get rid of the pattern fills applied and change the foreground color.

    Columns filled with Pattern fill
    Figure 6: Columns filled with Pattern fill
  7. Again, summon the Format Data Series dialog box, make sure the Fill option is selected in the sidebar, then select the Solid tab. Open the Color gallery and select any other color for the positive values as shown in Figure 7. Do remember that the fill for your data series will no longer be a gradient, and will change to a solid fill. Click OK to apply the changes and get back to the chart.

    Solid fill being applied
    Figure 7: Solid fill being applied
  8. Figure 8 shows the final chart which has distinctly different colors for positive and negative data values. As you can see in Figure 8, our sample chart has only one data series, and if you need to have more negative values in the same series, they will continue to show in the color you chose to display negative values. However, if you add another series to the same chart, and only if that series contains negative values, then that particular series will have to be similarly formatted for negative values using the steps previously explained on this page.

    Chart with changed colors
    Figure 8: Chart with changed colors
  9. Save your presentation.

See Also:

Changing Color for Negative Data Series of Charts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Changing Color for Negative Data Series in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 Charts for Windows
Changing Color for Negative Data Series in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 Charts for Windows

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