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Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn to change fills and borders of the chart Data Series in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. By default, Theme Accent colors are used but you can change to another color or also a pattern, texture, or a picture fill.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X



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When you add new charts in PowerPoint, the default fill and border (line) that PowerPoint 2011 for Mac applies to chart elements are perfectly adequate. Still, you might want to play with the Chart Styles available. All these Styles are based on the Office Theme you have applied to the active presentation. While this works great most of the time, there will be occasions when you may want to use a color for any of your data series that's not part of the Theme palette in your presentation. In times like these, you can control the fill and border of chart elements using the techniques explained on this page.

Before you get started with this tutorial, you should have a chart inserted on your PowerPoint slide. We use a column chart for this example, you can also use any other chart type. If you don't know how to insert a chart, refer to our Inserting Charts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial. You can also change the chart type from one to another. Now let's go ahead and customize the look of our chart by changing the fill and the border characteristics.

Note: PowerPoint 2011 uses the terms border and line interchangeably to mean the same thing!

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

  1. Select the chart on your slide as shown in Figure 1. This displays the Chart Layout and Format tabs on the Ribbon area, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.
  2. Chart selected in PowerPoint
    Figure 1: Chart selected in PowerPoint 2011
  3. Note: The Chart Layout and Format tabs are Contextual tabs. These tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time. They only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  4. Click on the chart element for which you want to change the fill and border. Alternatively, you can select the chart elements using the Chart Elements drop-down list within the Chart Tools Layout tab. To learn how to select various chart elements, read our Chart Elements in PowerPoint 2011 tutorial. For this tutorial, we have selected the first set of columns from the left, that represents the first data series in this chart as you can see in Figure 2.
  5. Chart element selected
    Figure 2: Chart element selected
  6. With the chart element selected, select either the Chart Layout or the Format tab of the Ribbon. Within any of these tabs, locate the Current Selection group that you can see in Figure 3 towards the extreme left. Within this group, make sure that the Chart Elements selection box (highlighted in red within Figure 3) is displaying the name of the selected element. Then, click the Format Selection button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3) which you can see below the Chart Elements selection box.
  7. Format Selection button to be clicked with the correct chart element selected
    Figure 3: Format Selection button to be clicked with the correct chart element selected
  8. Doing so summons the Format Data Series dialog box. Note your dialog box may have a different name based on the particular chart element you selected. In this dialog box, make sure that the Fill option is selected in the sidebar as shown in Figure 4. If you had some other chart element selected, the dialog box that you would end up with, would have options pertaining to your selection. So, this is all very logical and intuitive.
  9. Fill options within Format Data Series dialog box selecte
    Figure 4: Fill options within Format Data Series dialog box selected
  10. Various fill tabs available in this dialog box for the selected chart element are explained below:
  11. Solid

  12. Provides a solid fill color. Choosing the Color selection box here provides you with options to choose a solid fill color, you can choose from Theme colors, Standard colors, etc. as shown in Figure 5. For more explanation on how to choose solid fill color refer to Add Solid Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 tutorial.
  13. You can also select the No Fill option (highlighted in red within Figure 5) to remove any fill from the selected chart element(s). There is a detailed tutorial available on No Fill for Shapes in PowerPoint 2011.
  14. No Fill option within Color gallery
    Figure 5: No Fill option within Color gallery
  15. Gradient

  16. Allows you to add graduated fills comprising two or more colors. If you want to know more about how to use this option, our Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 tutorial will be of more help.
  17. Picture or Texture

  18. Adds a texture or picture as a fill for the selected column(s). Want to know how? Read our tutorials Add Picture Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 and Add Texture Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.
  19. Pattern

  20. You can select from the 48 preset patterns as a fill for the selected column(s). To learn more, refer to our Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 tutorial.
  21. Invert if Negative

  22. This is not a tab, but a check box that works if you have any negative figures in your chart. Any such figures show as data series below the horizontal axis in another color (see Figure 6). To know more about this option, you can refer to our Charts in PowerPoint, Using the Invert if Negative Option in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
  23. Chart with Invert if negative check box selected
    Figure 6: Chart with Invert if negative check box selected
  24. Note: Figure 6 is showing a chart having the series filled with solid colors. If the fill type is gradient, the direction of the gradient will be inverted in the data series below the horizontal axis instead of completely removing the fill.
  25. Now, let us learn how to format the line in charts. In the same dialog box (Format Data Series dialog box in this example), select the Line option in the sidebar as shown in Figure 7. This brings up the border line formatting options.
  26. Line options within Format Data Series dialog box
    Figure 7: Line options within Format Data Series dialog box
  27. Border formatting tabs are explained below:
  28. Solid

  29. Provides a solid color border to the selected column(s). Choosing the Color selection box here provides you with options to choose a line color, these colors can be Theme colors, Standard colors, etc. as shown in Figure 8. To learn more, explore our Formatting Lines for Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 tutorial.
  30. You can also select the No Line option (highlighted in red within Figure 8) to remove the borders from the selected chart element(s). You can refer to No Shape Outline in PowerPoint 2011 for more info.
  31. No Line option within Color gallery of Format Data Series dialog box
    Figure 8: No Line option within Color gallery of Format Data Series dialog box
  32. Gradient

  33. Applies graduated lines that are composed of two or more colors. The tutorial Gradient Outlines in PowerPoint 2011 provides you with more information on this option.
  34. Weight & Arrows

  35. Provides options to change the width and type of the border line. Also, you can only add arrowheads to a line which is an open shape. In this tutorial we have selected the data series chart element, which is essentially a closed shape, so the arrowhead option will not be available. If you select any other chart element which is an open shape (like the Axis Major Gridlines), then the arrowhead option can be applied. To learn more about Weight & Arrows, refer to our Formatting Lines (and Shape Outlines) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac – Weight and Formatting Arrows (Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorials.
  36. Select any of the available fill and border colors (or types) and make changes as required. Once all changes have been done, click the OK button to apply the changes and get back to the chart. In Figure 9 you can see that the selected chart element's fill type and border color have been altered. Compare it with Figure 2 to see the difference.
  37. Chart with altered fill and border
    Figure 9: Chart with altered fill and border
  38. Save your presentation.

See Also:

Chart Basics: Changing Fill and Border of Charts (Glossary Page)

Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

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