Here we have a basic column chart. The chart itself - the rectangle that holds everything else - is referred to as the Chart Area. When you select a chart, Excel will wrap the chart in a frame that contains eight handles. These handles can be used to resize the chart. At the top of the chart is the Chart Title, and to the right is the Legend. A column chart like this has two axes: the horizontal axis, which is also referred to as the category axis, and the vertical axis. The vertical axis is also called the Value axis, since it provides a scale of values. Both the horizontal axis and the vertical axis can optionally have Axis Titles as well. Axis Titles give you a way to label the horizontal and vertical axis more clearly. Next, the Plot Area. The plot area is a rectangle that holds the plotted graphic elements, which depend on the chart type. In some charts, the plot area has gridlines. There are two types of gridlines, major gridlines and minor gridlines. Major gridlines line up with the major units on the Vertical axis. In the center of the plot area, above the highest value in this chart is a Data label. Data labels display the actual value used to plot an element in a chart. They’re a good way to call out specific, important values. One thing that’s not present in this chart is a data table. I’ll enable that now. A data table displays the values used to plot the chart itself. A chart with a data table is a compact way to show both the chart and the data, when you’re working with a smaller set of data.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.