Excel XP: Editing Charts

Lesson 17: Editing Charts



By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Change chart data
  • Change the chart title
  • Change the data series names or legend names
  • Change the chart type

Changing chart data

When you add a chart to your worksheet, Excel creates a link between the chart and your source data. Any changes made to the original source data are automatically reflected in the chart.

Edit Data Source

To change chart values directly in worksheet cells:

  • Open the worksheet that contains the chart to be changed.
  • Click in the cell whose value will change, and type the new value.
  • Press Enter to accept the new value.

Changing chart data

To add data to an existing chart:

Rows or columns of data can be added to an existing chart by selecting the Add Data option on the chart menu.

  • Input any new source data into the worksheet (e.g., a new column called South America).

    Select Cell Range for New Data
  • Click the chart to select it for editing.
  • Choose ChartAdd Data from the menu bar.

    Chart and Add Data Menu Selections
  • The Add Data dialog box appears.
  • Select the cell range of new data to be added to the chart. Marching ants appear around the cell range. The selected cells are added to the Add Data dialog box.

    Specify Range in Add Data Dialog Box
  • Click OK to add the new data to the chart.

Changing the chart title

The chart title can be changed at any time to a name that's meaningful to you.

To change the chart title:

  • Click the chart title.

    Chart Title Selection
  • Click anywhere in the title name and make any changes to the text.

    Change the Chart Title
  • Click anywhere outside the title to apply your changes.

Changing data series names or legend text

Data series names and legend text are changed similar to how chart values are changed in a worksheet.

To change the data series names or legend text on the worksheet:

  • Click the cell that contains the data series name or legend you want to change.

    Relation of Data Series and Legend to Source Data
  • Type the new name.
  • Press Enter to add the new name to the chart.

Changing the chart type

There are 14 types of charts in Excel XP, and within each chart type there can be several variations. The chart type can be changed at any time with just a few clicks.

To select a different chart type:

  • Click the chart to select it for editing.
  • Click the chart type drop-down list box and select a different chart.

    Line Chart Drop-down Menu
  • The new chart replaces the one selected for change.

New Chart Type


  • Type the following information in the worksheet:

    In cell A2, type Bill
    In cell A3, type Bob
    In cell A4, type Mary
    In cell B1, type Phones
    In cell B2, type 7630
    In cell B3, type 2943
    In cell B4, type 2301
    In cell C1, type Cables
    In cell C2, type 9873
    In cell C3, type 3745
    In cell C4, type 2019
    In cell D1, type Internet
    In cell D2, type 8374
    In cell D3, type 2049
    In cell D4, type 4038

  • Create an embedded bar chart that plots Bill, Bob, and Mary on the Y axis. The legend will include phones, cables, and Internet.
  • Change any of the numbers in the data source (cells B2, B3, B4, C2, C3, C4, D2, D3, and D4), and notice how the chart changes.
  • Change any data series name (Bill, Bob, or Mary) or legend value (phones, cable, or Internet), and notice how the chart changes.
  • Change the chart type from a bar chart to a line chart.