Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.
With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
Learn more about Allen...
Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Controlling the Plotting of Empty Cells.
When you create a chart from a data table, Excel does its best to translate the numeric values into data points on a chart, according to the specifications you provide. One area where Excel doesn't quite know what to do, however, is empty cells. If a cell is empty, it could be for any number of reasons—the value isn't available, the value isn't important, or the value is really zero.
You can instruct the program how you want it to treat empty cells by following these steps:
Figure 1. The Chart tab of the Options dialog box.
If the option buttons are not available at the top of the screen, it means that you don't have a chart visible on the screen. The option buttons provide three different settings:
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3054) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Controlling the Plotting of Empty Cells.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!