Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time.

Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 14, 2017)

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 (7734) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time.

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

Totaling Across Worksheets

Want to sum the values in the same cell on a range of worksheets? It's not as easy as summing a range on the same worksheet, ...

Discover More

Adding Drop-Shadows to Paragraphs

Drop shadows are a style of paragraph border used to enhance the visual impact of a paragraph. They are also a great way to ...

Discover More

Hiding a Huge Number of Rows

Need to hide a large number of rows? It's easy to do if you combine a few keyboard shortcuts. Here are several techniques you ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Easily Changing Chart Data Ranges

Want a handy way to make the data ranges for your chart more dynamic? Here are some great ideas you can put to work right ...

Discover More

Adjusting Your View of 3-D Graphs

Do you use Excel's charting capabilities to display three-dimensional views of your data? The program provides a way that you ...

Discover More

Changing Chart Size

Place a chart on a worksheet and you may not be satisfied with its size. Changing the size of a chart is a simple process ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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. You’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 nine more than 9?

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


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.