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Chapter 27. Advanced Charting Techniques > Assorted Formatting Issues

Assorted Formatting Issues

Although Excel's charting engine has a lot more presentation power now than it did in earlier versions, at heart it remains an analytical tool. It's more likely to turn out graphs that would have pleased your high school algebra teacher than the kinds of attention-grabbing charts you find in business magazines or boardroom presentations.

Tuning an Excel chart for maximum impact often entails simplification—getting rid of chart elements that Excel wants to give you by default. For example, if the message of your chart is rising sales, perhaps that message is best conveyed by a bright and heavy chart line accompanied by a couple of snappy text boxes. Maybe you don't need axes, gridlines, or borders around the plot and chart areas. If you decide to keep the gridlines, you might want to tone them down a bit—for example, by replacing the solid black lines with gray dots. Maybe you can manage without that gloomy gray backdrop that comes free of charge with standard Excel chart offerings.


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