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: Positive and Negative Colors in a Chart.

# Positive and Negative Colors in a Chart

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2018)

Merril asked if there was a way to create a line chart so that when a line represented a negative value, the color of the line would change at the point when it went negative. For instance, in a particular data series, as long as the line represented positive values, it would be blue, but when the line represented negative values, it would change to red.

Unfortunately there is no way to easily do this in Excel. There are, however, a couple of workarounds you can try. The first is to use a macro to change the line colors of chart lines that represent negative values. The following macro is an example of such an approach:

```Sub PosNegLine()
Dim chtSeries As Series
Dim SeriesNum As Integer
Dim SeriesColor As Integer
Dim MyChart As Chart
Dim R As Range
Dim i As Integer
Dim LineColor As Integer
Dim PosColor As Integer
Dim NegColor As Integer
Dim LastPtColor As Integer
Dim CurrPtColor As Integer

PosColor = 4 'Green
NegColor = 3 'red
SeriesNum = 1

Set MyChart = ActiveSheet.ChartObjects(1).Chart
Set chtSeries = MyChart.SeriesCollection(SeriesNum)
Set R = GetChartRange(MyChart, 1, "Values")

For i = 2 To R.Cells.Count
LastPtColor = IIf(R.Cells(i - 1).Value < 0, NegColor, PosColor)
CurrPtColor = IIf(R.Cells(i).Value < 0, NegColor, PosColor)

If LastPtColor = CurrPtColor Then
LineColor = LastPtColor
Else
If Abs(R.Cells(i - 1).Value) > Abs(R.Cells(i).Value) Then
LineColor = LastPtColor
Else
LineColor = CurrPtColor
End If
End If
chtSeries.Points(i).Border.ColorIndex = LineColor
Next i
End Sub
```
```Function GetChartRange(Ch As Chart, Ser As Integer, _
ValXorY As String) As Range
Dim SeriesFormula As String
Dim ListSep As String * 1
Dim Pos As Integer
Dim LSeps() As Integer
Dim Txt As String
Dim i As Integer

Set GetChartRange = Nothing

On Error Resume Next
SeriesFormula = Ch.SeriesCollection(Ser).Formula
ListSep = ","
For i = 1 To Len(SeriesFormula)
If Mid\$(SeriesFormula, i, 1) = ListSep Then
Pos = Pos + 1
ReDim Preserve LSeps(Pos)
LSeps(Pos) = i
End If
Next i

If UCase(ValXorY) = "XVALUES" Then
Txt = Mid\$(SeriesFormula, LSeps(1) + 1, LSeps(2) - LSeps(1) - 1)

Set GetChartRange = Range(Txt)
End If

If UCase(ValXorY) = "VALUES" Then
Txt = Mid\$(SeriesFormula, LSeps(2) + 1, LSeps(3) - LSeps(2) - 1)

Set GetChartRange = Range(Txt)
End If
End Function
```

When you select a chart and then run the PosNegLine macro, it looks through the chart and, for line segments between negative data point values, changes the line color to red. For line segments connecting positive data points, the line color is set to green.

The problem with this solution is that it provides only an approximation; it only works with lines connecting two data points, and it can either change the entire line segment or not. If the beginning data point is positive and the ending data point is negative, it cannot change the color of a line right as it passes into negative values.

Another approach is to format data points as different colors or shapes, based on whether they are positive or negative. A way to accomplish this is detailed at Jon Peltier's Web site, located here:

```http://www.peltiertech.com/Excel/Charts/ConditionalChart1.html
```

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1999) 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: Positive and Negative Colors in a Chart.

##### Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Detailed Measurements

Want to know exactly how far something on the ruler is from the left and right margins of your document? It's easy to ...

Discover More

Word allows you to quickly add borders to cells in a table, but you may not know that you can also add borders to the ...

Discover More

Finding a Worksheet with a Specific Value in a Specific Cell

If you have a lot of worksheets in workbook, finding the exact one you want can be a bit tricky. This tip looks at ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

Noting a False Zero On a Chart

When creating charts that will be used by other people, you may need to take some liberties with the presentation of your ...

Discover More

Smoothing Out Data Series

One way you can make your charts look more understandable is by removing the "jaggies" that are inherent to line charts. ...

Discover More

Automatically Updating Charts for Additional Data

Add information to the data on which a chart is based, and you may find out that the information is excluded from the ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. Youâ€™ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your commentâ€”just use the simple form above!)

##### This Site

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.