A chart layout is a specific set of chart elements arranged in a particular way. Excel provides a limited set of chart layouts on the ribbon in the Quick layout menu on the Design Tab  under Chart Tools.  When you access this menu, you’ll see available layouts. As you hover over each layout, you’ll see a preview of the layout applied to the chart. To apply a layout, just click. If you don’t like the result, you can undo with Control + Z and try again. Note you are free to move around chart elements after you apply a layout. If you re-apply the layout after moving some chart elements, the positions will be reset. Also note that you don’t need to use the interface to remove chart elements, you can simply select and delete. For example, if don’t want the axis labels and legend, I can select each element and delete. The quick layouts feature is nice for experimentation and learning what kind of elements Excel can put on a chart, but in most cases, you’ll probably want to work with elements individually.  You can find element menus in two places. On the ribbon, under the Add Chart Element, and in the Chart Elements menu, or plus icon, which appears when you select a chart.  To access the chart element menu on the ribbon, select the chart first. Then go to the Design tab. Excel will build a preview as you hover over each element. Just click to apply, and, like before, use Control + Z to undo. The Chart Elements menu, or plus icon, appears when you select a chart. It also provides a hover preview for each option. Click the arrow to the right to see second-level options. I’ll talk a lot more about formatting elements in upcoming videos, but I want to mention that text elements can be easily formatted using the home tab of the ribbon. For example, I can select the chart title, and change size and color with standard text controls. Finally, if you override the formatting for a chart element, you can use the “reset to match style” button on the ribbon to revert the element as defined in the applied style. You can also just right-click a chart element, and find this option in the in the shortcut menu.

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.