The most commonly-used types of Excel charts are bar and column charts. These two types of charts come in an array of styles, including 2-D and 3-D. There are also several column types, allowing you to change bars to cones or to stack the data series on top of each other. Regardless of style and type, one of the ways to make your chart's data stand out is to widen or narrow the bars.
To Create a Chart
Click the Insert tab and select your preferred chart type from the Chart grouping. Column charts have bars that rise vertically from the category axis, whereas a Bar chart's bars extend horizontally to the right from the category axis. When choosing chart type, you can choose 2-D, 3-D, Cylinder, Cone or Pyramid.
Charts inserted using the Insert tab are automatically created as an object on the current sheet.
Changing Chart Elements
To make changes to a chart, first click anywhere in the chart area to make it active. This displays the Chart Tools area on the right side of the menu bar. The Layout tab allows you to toggle various chart elements on and off as well as make choices about elements such as Data Labels, which show the value of each data point (bar), or the Data Table, which is a small table of all the chart's data located directly beneath the chart. This is also where you can toggle the chart's legend on or off.
The Format tab contains choices of various color or shape effects for each chart element. When you click on an area of the chart, the name of it displays in the upper left of the Format tab in the Current Selection Grouping. The Format Selection button directly below allows you to dig deeper into formatting.
Using the Format Selection Dialog Box
The Format Selection dialog box is a "one-stop shop" for changing any selected chart element. It is accessible from both the Chart Tools area on the Ribbon and from the right-click shortcut menu. When right-clicking, the name of the dialog box reflects the selected item.
There are seven possible sub-areas in the Format Selection dialog box: Series Options, Shape, Fill, Border Colors, Border Styles, Shadow and 3-D Format. Options like Shape are not available in the 2-D chart types, but are present if you change the chart type to 3-D.
Change the Width of Bars in Excel Charts
The Series Options area of the Format Data Series dialog box controls Bar Width. Gap Width controls the space between bars. There needs to be a certain amount of space in order to differentiate categories. Decreasing the Gap Width by moving the slider increases the width of the bars. Conversely, increasing the Gap Width narrows them.
- Photo Credit Maydaymayday/iStock/Getty Images
How to Change the Vertical Axis on an Excel Bar Chart
Microsoft Excel 2007 is spreadsheet software that helps you to sort and classify large amounts of data. It can also assist you...
How to Close the Header & Footer Screens in Excel 2007
Microsoft Excel offers multiple viewing options, so the method to hide the headers and footers depends on which view you're in. Your...
How to Unhide Columns in MS Excel 2007
Microsoft Excel 2007 displays all of your spreadsheet content by default. However, if you do not want to print certain columns, or...
How to Expand All Columns in Excel 2007
Microsoft Excel 2007 is a spreadsheet application that organizes data into cells arranged in columns and rows. The cells are all the...
How to Lock Column Width in Excel 2007
Excel 2007 has protection features that can help you protect your worksheet. The protection features will prevent users from making unnecessary changes...
How to Create a Bar Graph in an Excel Spreadsheet
Bar graphs show data from left to right using horizontal bars. The category axis, called the _x-axis_, is on the left side...