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Customizing Graphs

After you've created a graph, you can customize it in several ways. You can fill and stroke its elements with color, patterns, and gradients; you can combine different graph types within one graph; and you can use custom graphics instead of standard bars, columns, and data points. Take care when making these changes. A graph's elements are grouped when it is created, and ungrouping the graph to manipulate its elements severs the connection between the graph and its data. When a graph is ungrouped, it becomes standard Illustrator elements, and you can no longer use the Graph Data and Graph Type dialog boxes to modify the graph.

It is possible to reshape and recolor individual elements within a graph without losing the graph-data connection by using the Group Selection tool. To choose this tool, click the Direct Selection tool in the Tool palette and drag the mouse over to switch to the Group Selection tool, which has a small plus sign (+) next to its arrow. Using this tool, you can select individual objects and subgroups within a group by repeatedly clicking an object that's part of a subgroup. Because Illustrator groups related objects within the larger group of the entire graph, the Group Selection tool makes it easy to select, for example, all the light gray columns and the light gray box in the legend so that you can change their color (see Figure 18.17).


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