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: Exporting Black and White Charts.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 11, 2016)
Excel allows you to create charts in full color. When you get ready to print the chart, you can instruct Excel to print it in "black and white" (via File | Page Setup | Chart | Print in Black and White). You may wonder if there is a way to export this "black and white" version of the chart, so that you can work with it in a different program.
The answer is that you cannot do this, at least not directly. To understand why this is, you must understand how the "print in black and white" feature works. This feature only affects what is sent to the printer driver (to your printer), it doesn't affect the actual chart at all. Even when you click on Print Preview, you are not viewing your actual chart, but a representation of what your chart will look like when printed. Thus, you are seeing printer output, not the real chart.
If you want to export a black and white version of your chart, there are several ways to accomplish the task. The first is to simply view the chart in Print Preview and do a screen capture (press Alt+Print Screen). You can then paste the screen into your favorite graphics program and touch it up, as desired.
If you want to export the chart instead of just capturing the screen, then you should change the colors of the chart so that they really are grayscale and contain the same patterns you would see if you chose to print in black and white. This approach actually changes the source for the chart, rather than relying on Excel to do a transformation of the chart when you print. Once you get done making the formatting changes you can even save the chart as a "chart type" so you can use it as a pattern for other charts you create.
If desired, you can also use a macro to convert between color and grayscale chart presentation. This approach is highly dependent on the colors you want to use in the chart, the type of chart you are using, and the number of data series in the chart. The following is an example of a macro that will toggle the colors in a data series between color and black and white, for up to five data series.
Option Explicit Public bColored As Integer Sub ColoredToBW() Dim cht As Chart Dim chtSC As SeriesCollection Dim x As Integer Dim iSeriesCount As Integer Dim iColors(1 To 5, 0 To 1) As Integer Dim iColor As Integer 'Set colors for BW series iColors(1, 0) = 1 'Black iColors(2, 0) = 56 'Gray-80% iColors(3, 0) = 16 'Gray-50% iColors(4, 0) = 48 'Gray-40% iColors(5, 0) = 15 'Gray-25% 'Set colors for Color series iColors(1, 1) = 55 'Indigo iColors(2, 1) = 7 'pink iColors(3, 1) = 6 'yellow iColors(4, 1) = 8 'Turquoise iColors(5, 1) = 13 'Violet 'Toggle Color/BW change 0 to 1 or 1 to 0 bColored = 1 - bColored Set cht = ActiveChart 'check that a chart is selected If cht Is Nothing Then MsgBox ("Select a chart") Exit Sub End If Set chtSC = cht.SeriesCollection 'Check for MIN of number of series or 'colors and only do the minimum iSeriesCount = Application.WorksheetFunction.Min _ (UBound(iColors), chtSC.Count) For x = 1 To iSeriesCount 'Define the color iColor = iColors(x, bColored) 'Set the LINE color chtSC(x).Border.ColorIndex = iColor 'Marker color With chtSC(x) .MarkerBackgroundColorIndex = xlNone .MarkerForegroundColorIndex = iColor End With Next x End Sub
This example will not work with all chart types; you will need to modify it to reflect your needs. It will, however, serve as a starting point for making your own macro.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2204) 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: Exporting Black and White Charts.
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!
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