Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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: Creating Custom Chart Formats.

Understanding Custom Chart Templates

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 27, 2019)

There may be times when the built-in chart formats just don't meet your needs. In these instances, you can always make any changes desired to your chart and then save all the chart settings as a chart template. You can then apply these settings to other charts, and you won't have to go through the long or tedious steps necessary to do all the formatting over again.

To create a chart template, follow these steps if you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010:

  1. Use whatever formatting commands are necessary to define your chart just the way you want it.
  2. Display the Design tab of the ribbon. (This is visible only when the chart is selected.)
  3. Click Save As Template. Excel displays the Save Chart Template dialog box.
  4. In the File Name box enter the name under which you want this template saved.
  5. Click on Save.

These steps won't work if you are using Excel 2013 or a later version. The reason is simple: The Save As Template tool has been removed from the Design tab of the ribbon. All is not lost, however. Follow these steps, instead:

  1. Use whatever formatting commands are necessary to define your chart just the way you want it.
  2. Right-click on the chart. (Make sure you actually right-click on the chart itself, not on an element within the chart.) Excel displays a Context menu.
  3. Choose the Save As Template option. Excel displays the Save Chart Template dialog box.
  4. In the File Name box enter the name under which you want this template saved.
  5. Click on Save.

Your template is now ready to be used in creating other charts. When you are ready to create a chart and you want to use the template, just display the Insert tab of the ribbon, click the Other Charts tool, and then choose All Chart Types. In the resulting dialog box, you can click on Templates and choose the template you just created.

To create a chart using your template if you are using Excel 2013 or a later version, display the Insert tab of the ribbon and click the small icon in the lower-right corner of the Charts group. Excel displays the Insert Chart dialog box. Make sure the All Charts tab is displayed, click on Templates, and choose the template you just created.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8447) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating Custom Chart Formats.

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. ...

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