PowerPoint: Charts and Graphs

Illustration of 'Text and Chart' Slide Icon Illustration of 'Chart and Text' Slide Icon Illustration of 'Chart' Slide Icon Text and Chart Slides
Chart and Text Slides
Chart Slides

The various slides containing charts all have title fields that need to be set, and some will have bulleted lists, depending upon the slide layout that has been chosen. These elements behave as they would on other slides containing them: a click on the field allows the field's contents to be created or edited. The chart element, however, requires some additional explanation.

Illustration of a Chart area on a slide

When the chart area is double-clicked, a sample chart and datasheet are created.

Illustration of chart and datasheet in slide

From this point, your first step should be to enter the data you want to illustrate in the chart. This entry gets done in the datasheet.

Adding a column or row of information is as easy as typing it into place; to remove a column or row of information, right-click on the column or row heading and select the Clear Contents option (illustrated below).

Illustration of the Clear Contents chart option

Illustration of a chart area handle To adjust the size of the chart, click and drag one of the dots (handles) appearing on the border surrounding the chart.

By right-clicking directly on the chart area, you can select the Chart Type to change from the default bar graph to any of a number of other chart types, including a variety of bar graphs, pie charts, and plotted points.

Illustration of the dialog that appears on right-clicking over the chart

Conveniently, the Chart Type dialog gives you not only a visual preview of the chart type, but also provides an option to preview your data as it would appear in such a chart:

Illsutration of the Chart Type dialog

To see the preview of your data in a given chart type, select a chart type, and click the button marked Press and hold to view sample . Once you have selected your chart type, click the OK button to apply it.

Amongst the other options at your disposal when you right-click over the chart area on a PowerPoint slide, is one marked Chart Options : this allows you to set, most usefully, titles for the chart and its axes.

Illustration of the 'Chart Options' Dialog

When you've finished setting up your chart, clicking anywhere on the slide outside of the chart area will close the chart object and let you create new slides or edit other objects on the current slide.

Chart Tip : After you have finished work on a chart and have gone on to edit or create other slides, further editing of the chart or its properties requires that you first double-click on the chart to re-activate it. Until this is done, you will not have access to the right-click functions or the data.