How to Use the Same Color for Multiple Line Charts


Charts are an easy way to show a lot of data in an easy-to-see format. Desktop publishing has made it easy to produce vibrantly colorful charts but does not often consider the possibility of making a black and white chart. When you cannot or do not want to use color in your chart, patterns will help you keep all the lines straight so that your data can clearly provide the information needed. Excel is a an easy-to-use spreadsheet program that helps you create professional graphs.

Things You'll Need

  • Personal computer
  • Microsoft Office Excel

Turn on your computer and open Excel. Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that helps you maintain data and compile charts, tables and graphs in a few easy steps. This program is available for PC and Mac computers and we will look at creating a graph in Excel.

Enter the data you want to include in your chart in the Excel spreadsheet. This is easy to do. You will place your "Y-axis" data on the first vertical column and the "X-axis" data across the first horizontal row. Start The vertical column on the second row so that you can place the information in each data box. For example, if you want to review "Department Revenues" by each "Quarter" you would place the "Department Name" going down the first column with each "Quarter" labeled across the top row: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4.

Go to the menu to "Insert > Chart." Click this and follow the onscreen menus to select "Line Chart." Highlight the areas in the data sheet you want to use in the chart. You will be given the option to either include the chart on your existing data page or open a new page with just the chart on it.

Look at the chart that pops up and review it to make sure it is correct. This will be a color chart with the data represented by different colored lines. Now you need to change the colors into patterns.

Right-click on the first data line, which may be red, green, yellow or blue. Select "Format Data Series." A box will appear with several tabs over your chart. Make sure you have selected the "Colors and Lines" tab. Confirm that you are on the correct line by the color that is in the color box. Choose the pattern under the "Dashed" tab. Click "OK" when you are done customizing the line. You can maintain the color of the line or change it to black.

Repeat Step 5 for all data lines, making sure to choose a different pattern for each information line.

Save the file and print.

Tips & Warnings

  • Excel automatically makes a color chart. This is useful and something you probably want to keep in case you ever need to email the chart or present it directly from the computer. As mentioned in Step 5, you can select the color and change it to any color you want, including black for sharper, black and white printing.

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