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Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

Learn to change fills and borders of the chart Data Series in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows. 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 2007 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher



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Although the default fill and border (outline) that PowerPoint 2007 applies to charts may be perfectly adequate, you might want to play with the Chart Styles found in the Chart Tools Design tab of the Ribbon. 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, we suggest you have a chart inserted on your PowerPoint slide. We used a column chart for this example, but you can use some other chart type. Elsewhere on this site, you'll find individual tutorial pages that show you how you can insert a chart in PowerPoint 2007, and how you can change the chart type from one to another. Now let's go ahead and customize the look of the chart by changing the fill and the border characteristics.

Note: PowerPoint 2007 uses the terms border and outline interchangeably to mean the same thing, i.e. the perimeter line around a chart element!

Follow these steps to learn more:

  1. Selecting the chart on your slide will bring up the three Chart Tools tabs in the Ribbon area, as shown in Figure 1. We'll explore the Chart Tools Layout tab later in this tutorial.
  2. Chart tools
    Figure 1: Selected Chart
  3. Note: The Chart Tools Design, 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. Now, click on the chart element, for which you want to change the fill and border. Alternatively, you can select any chart element from the Chart Tools Layout tab of the Ribbon. For this tutorial, we have chosen the first set of columns from the left that represents the first data series in this chart (see Figure 2).
  5. Selected chart element
    Figure 2: Selected chart element
  6. 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 (see Figure 3).
  7. Format Selection
    Figure 3: Format Selection
  8. This summons the Format Data Series dialog box, as shown in Figure 4.
  9. Format Data Series
    Figure 4: Format Data Series
  10. Within the Format Data Series dialog box, select the Fill tab on the left pane. The right pane then shows the Fill options, as explained below:
  11. No fill

  12. Removes any fill from the selected column(s).
  13. Solid fill

  14. Provides a solid fill color. Selecting this radio option provides some more options within this dialog box to choose a solid fill color from Theme colors, Standard colors, etc. This tutorial on adding solid fills to shapes discusses this concept in detail.
  15. Gradient fill

  16. Allows you to add graduated fills comprising two or more colors. This tutorial on adding gradient fills to shapes explains more.
  17. Picture or Texture fill

  18. Adds a texture or picture as a fill for the selected column(s). This tutorial on texture fills for shapes provides more information.
  19. Automatic

  20. Takes the default fill color, based on the current theme.
  21. Invert if Negative

  22. This 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 5).
  23. Chart with Invert if negative check-box selected
    Figure 5: Invert if negative
  24. Now in Format Data Series dialog box, select the Border Color tab in the left pane (see Figure 6). This brings up options for formatting the border in the right pane.
  25. Border Color
    Figure 6: Border Color
  26. Options in the Border Color tab are explained below:
  27. No line

  28. Removes borders from any selected column(s).
  29. Solid line

  30. Provides a solid color border to the selected column(s), these colors can be Theme colors, Standard colors, etc. Learn more in this page that looks at formatting shape outlines.
  31. Gradient line

  32. Applies graduated lines that are composed of two or more colors. Learn more about gradient outlines for shapes.
  33. Automatic

  34. Takes the default line color, based on the current theme.
  35. Once all changes have been done, click Close to get back to the chart.
  36. 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 2011 for Mac
Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Changing Fill and Border of Charts in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

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