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: Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 23, 2018)
Chris has a workbook that contains a lot of small, identical charts. He wants to change some of the attributes of elements in each chart—such as color or font size—all at one time.
If you find yourself using a "non-default" chart often (which means changing the appearance of certain chart elements after the chart is created), then a great approach is to create a custom chart and save that format in Excel. You can then use the saved format to create all your new charts, thereby minimizing the amount of later formatting you need to do. How you save custom chart formats has been covered in other issues of ExcelTips.
Custom chart formats may be great for the future, but it doesn't help if you already have a whole bunch of charts in an existing workbook. In that case, the best solution is to use a macro which can step through all the charts in a workbook and make a desired change. You just need to decide up front which items you wish to change, and then program the macro to specifically change those items.
For example, the following macro changes the font color and size of the Y-axis labels. It loops through all the charts in the workbook, both sheets and embedded charts.
Sub ChangeAllCharts1() Dim cht As Chart Dim sht Dim ChtObj As ChartObject For Each cht In ActiveWorkbook.Charts With cht.Axes(xlValue).TickLabels.Font .Size = 20 .Color = vbRed End With Next For Each sht In ActiveWorkbook.Sheets For Each ChtObj In sht.ChartObjects With ChtObj.Chart.Axes(xlValue).TickLabels.Font .Size = 20 .Color = vbRed End With Next Next End Sub
As written here, the macro changes the font size to 20 and the color to red. If you want the macro to change other elements, all you need to do is change the With statements to reflect the elements you want changed, or you could use a For...Next loop to step through all the chart elements. The following macro exhibits this technique, changing the background color of the charts in a workbook.
Sub ChangeAllCharts2() On Error Resume Next NewChartAreaColor = 34 For J = 1 To ActiveWorkbook.Charts.Count ActiveWorkbook.Charts(J).Select 'The pairs of line code indicate desired changes ActiveChart.ChartArea.Select Selection.Interior.ColorIndex = NewChartAreaColor Next J For J = 1 To ActiveWorkbook.Sheets.Count For K = 1 To Sheets(J).ChartObjects.Count Sheets(J).Select Sheets(J).ChartObjects(K).Activate 'The pairs of line code indicate desired changes ActiveChart.ChartArea.Select Selection.Interior.ColorIndex = NewChartAreaColor Next K Next J End Sub
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3125) 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: Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time.
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