If you right-click in the main Chart Area of any Excel chart, you will find that there are additional commands that have been added at the top. Some charts have additional options, listed at the bottom.

Chart Area Context Menu

Each of these commands is explained in more detail below:

  • QuickChart Format Chart – This command applied the active template formatting to the selected chart. Note that this formatting cannot be simply undone once applied.
  • Resize Chart – If you press the main button, the chart will be resized to whatever the selected size is on the Ribbon toolbar. However, you can also open up the menu to the side of the button where all of the template sizes are listed. You can click any of these to resize the chart to that size.
Resize Menu
  • Recolour Chart Series – The command on the main button applies the current template colour palette to the the chart series. The menu that opens up to the side has additional commands.
    • Make All Series Neutral – All of the series in the chart are changed to be the neutral colour of the template. This can be useful when you just wish to highlight a single data series in a group.
    • Fix Colours – If the colours are set to be those of the workbook palette, they may change when the chart is copied to a spreadsheet or presentation with a different palette. This command makes the current colours permanent unless specifically changed.
Recolour Menu
  • Add Series Names – You can add the names of the series to the chart if you prefer that to using the Legend. You can choose to add the names to the first or last points in the series
Add Series Names Options
  • Series Formatting – This menu contains two commands for special formatting of the intensity and colour of points in a chart. These are described in more detail here.
Series Formatting Options
  • Data Options – This brings together a number of useful commands
    • Switch Row / Column – This command is also found in the Select Data dialog box. If your source data is arranged in a table then when it is charted it will be automatically sorted into Categories and Series. This command will flip the selection, i.e., Categories become Series and vice versa.
    • Interpolate Missing Values – If there is missing data (blank or #N/A) in the data that is charted in a Line Chart you have the option of showing the gap or interpolating a line between the points that are there. This toggles between those options (and will read Show Missing Values As Blank to switch back).
    • Add Dummy Series – This will add another series to the chart without any data. This can be useful for achieving certain formatting effects.
Data Options Menu
  • Save Chart as Picture – This will save the selected chart as a PNG file.
  • Send Chart to PowerPoint – This will send the selected chart to the active Presentation and is discussed in more detail here.
  • Send Chart to Word – This will send the selected chart to the active Word document and is discussed in more detail here.
  • QuickChart Format Chart Area – this will format the Chart Area (background and border) according to the template settings.
  • Bring Chart to Front – In Excel, charts can lie behind one another, fully or partially, depending on the order they were created. This command brings the selected chart to the front of all other charts.

Column Chart

There is an extra command for Column Charts, and also one missing.

Column Chart Chart Area Context Menu
  • There is no option to interpolate missing values for column charts in Excel, so this option is not presented.
  • Close Column Gaps – For some purposes it is useful not to have gaps between columns. For example, Stacked Column charts are more flexible than Stacked Area charts, especially when it comes to showing negative values. Closing the gaps makes this more visually effective.
Closing Column Gaps

Scatter Chart

Scatter Charts have a different set of data options.

Scatter Chart Area Context Menu
  • Like Column Charts, there is no option to interpolate missing data unless it’s a Scatter Chart with Lines (either smooth or straight)
  • Switch X/Y Axes is functionality that doesn’t exist in Excel as standard. If switches the data axes of the chart,
Switched X and Y Axes on Scatter Chart