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Changing Color for Negative Data Series in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 Charts

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: PowerPoint 2007 and 2010

Date Created: April 8th 2010
Last Updated: April 8th 2010

Excerpt/Capsule: Learn how to change the default white color for negative values in PowerPoint 2010 charts.

Although I mention that this tutorial works for both PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, the actual techniques work only within PowerPoint 2010. The reason why this does not work well within PowerPoint 2007 is because that version had no option for pattern fills -- however if you work within PowerPoint 2010 using the procedure outlined on this page, you'll find that any changes you make show up in PowerPoint 2007 as well.

By default when you choose to invert the fill for any negative option in a series of a chart, you end up seeing those negative series in the default white color only -- not a great default if your slide background is white or if you want negative series to show in red. In this tutorial, I show you how you can get over this limitation in PowerPoint 2010 using a workaround.

Follow these steps to change the color of any negative data series in your PowerPoint 2010 charts:

  1. You must have a chart that has negative values, 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 dropdown list.

    Selected chart element (data series)
    Figure 1: Selected chart element (data series)

  2. Activate the Chart Tools Layout tab of the Ribbon. Towards the extreme left of the Ribbon tab, make sure that you have the correct data series selected -- then click the Format Selection button (highlighted in red in Figure 2).

    Selected Data Series
    Figure 2: Selected Data Series

  3. This summons the Format Data Series dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.

    Format Data Series
    Figure 3: Format Data Series

  4. At this point, I am assuming that you have selected the Invert if Negative option (highlighted in red in Figure 3) within the Fill tab. Next select the Pattern fill option, as shown in Figure 4.

    Pattern fill
    Figure 4: Pattern fill

  5. As soon as you select the Pattern fill option, several patterns show up within this dialog box (refer to Figure 4). You'll also find two color dropdown boxes under the pattern swatches. As you can see, the foreground color matches the fill color for the positive columns, and the background color matches with the fill for the negative columns.

  6. I will now make some changes -- from the patterns themselves, I chose the 5% pattern (the top-left, first pattern -- this is most inconspicious pattern) -- and then I chose a solid color from the background color dropdown, as you can see in Figure 5. Red was chosen since that color seems to go well with the negative concept.

    Background color
    Figure 5: Background color

  7. Click Close to go back to your chart with the new fills.

  8. Figure 6 shows how the chart looks now -- as you can see, the colors of the columns are actually reversed from what I wanted! So I need to remedy that next.
    Different column color
    Figure 6: Different column colors

  9. I summoned the Format Data Series dialog box again -- under the Fill tab, I chose the Solid fill option, as shown in Figure 7.

    Solid fill
    Figure 7: Solid fill

  10. Setting the fills back to Solid fill sets the colors in the chart series to the right values. Click the Close button to get back to the chart.

  11. Figure 8 shows the correct chart with no patterns, and distinctly different colors for positive and negative columns. As you can see from 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. 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 2002 and 2003 Charts for Windows


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