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

Learn how to change the default white color for chart negative values in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 for Windows

OS: Windows XP and higher

By default, PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 use white as the color of any negative series in your charts as shown in Figure 1 below. We know, this does look very unimaginative and there's a workaround to get over this issue.

Negative figure column
Figure 1: Negative figure column

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

  1. You must have a chart that has negative values, as shown in Figure 2. Double-click the chart and then select the data series. If you have trouble selecting the data series, you can select any chart object from the Standard toolbar in chart editing mode.

    Select chart object
    Figure 2: Selected chart object
  2. With the data series selected, choose the Format | Selected Data Series menu option, as shown in Figure 3.

    Format | Selected Data Series menu option
    Figure 3: Format | Selected Data Series menu option
  3. This summons the Format Data Series dialog box, as shown in Figure 4.

    Format Data Series
    Figure 4: Format Data Series
  4. Assuming you already chose the Invert if Negative option (highlighted in red in Figure 4), click the Fill Effects button to bring up the dialog box that you can see in Figure 5, within this dialog box, choose the Pattern tab.

    Pattern tab within Fill Effects dialog box
    Figure 5: Pattern tab within Fill Effects dialog box
  5. As you can see the foreground color matches the positive columns and the background color matches with the negative columns. Now we can change the background color to the desired color for the negative column.
  6. From the patterns choose the 5% pattern (the top-left, first pattern, this is most inconspicious pattern), and choose a solid color from the background color drop down, as you can see in Figure 6. We choose red since that goes well with the negative concept.

    Background color
    Figure 6: Background color
  7. Apply the changes by clicking OK in both Fill Effects and Format Data Sheet dialog box. This gets you back to your chart.
  8. Figure 7 shows how the chart looks now, as you can see, the color of the columns are different for positive and negative values. In fact, they are quite the opposite of what we need.

    Different column color
    Figure 7: Different column colors
  9. Now open the Fill Effects dialog box (see Figure 5) again, and swap the foreground and background colors. Click OK twice in successive dialog boxes when done . This sets the colors in the chart to the right values.
  10. However, there is still a pattern, and we can now remove that pattern too! To do that, you will need to make sure that this data series is selected, then bring up the familiar Format Data Series dialog box (see Figure 4), and select the required color for the positive column. Remember that any change in color you do now only changes the color of the positive columns, but it also does remove the pattern in the negative column! Click OK to apply.
  11. Figure 8 shows the correct chart with no patterns, and distinctly different colors for positive and negative columns. As you can see in Figure 8, our sample chart has only one Data Series. But there's no reason why you cannot use the same steps for any other series if your chart has multiple series.

    Chart with changed colors
    Figure 8: Chart with changed colors
  12. You can exit the chart editing mode by clicking anywhere outside the chart area or the datasheet.
  13. Save your presentation.

See Also:

Changing Color for Negative Data Series of Charts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Changing Color for Negative Data Series of Charts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Changing Color for Negative Data Series in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 Charts for Windows

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