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Using the Invert if Negative Option for Charts in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

Highlight negative values in a chart in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows. This result can be achieved by using the Invert if Negative option.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher



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In an ideal world, we would like to have charts that had all positive values. But sometimes, growth rates may plummet and you might end up seeing negative values in your charts, as shown in Figure 1, below.

Chart with negative figures
Figure 1: Chart with negative values

Now by default, PowerPoint uses the same color fills for negative values in any chart, as can be seen in Figure 1, above. Fortunately, you can override this behavior with a convenient Invert if Negative option that we explored towards the end of the Changing Fills and Outlines of Charts tutorial.

In this tutorial, we'll cover everything right from scratch all over again.

Where is the Invert if Negative Option?

The Invert if Negative option is only enabled for column, bar, cylinder, cone, and pyramid chart types. The pie and area chart types do not have this option as they don't plot negative figures.

Follow these steps to use the Invert if Negative option in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows:

  1. You must have a chart that has negative values, as shown in Figure 2, below. 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.
  2. Selected chart object
    Figure 2: Selected chart object
  3. With the data series selected, choose the Format | Selected Data Series menu option, as shown in Figure 3, below.
  4. Selected Data Series
    Figure 3: Selected Data Series
  5. This action summons the Format Data Series dialog box, as shown in Figure 4, below.
  6. Format Data Series
    Figure 4: Format Data Series
  7. Within the Patterns tab of the dialog box, choose the Invert if Negative option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4, above, and click the OK button. Doing so will change the color fill of the negative figure column to white, as you can see in Figure 5, below. Most of the time, you don't want the negative color to be white. We address this issue in our Changing Color for Negative Data Series in PowerPoint Charts tutorial.
  8. Negative figure column
    Figure 5: Negative figure column
  9. Can I Change the Negative Color to Something Other than White?

  10. You can change the color fill of your negative figure column to something other than white. Our Changing Color for Negative Data Series in PowerPoint Charts tutorial explains more.
  11. Save your presentation.

See Also:

Advanced Chart Techniques: Using the Invert if Negative Option for Charts (Glossary Page)

Using the Invert if Negative Option for Charts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Using the Invert if Negative Option for Charts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Using the Invert if Negative Option for Charts in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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