Whenever you select a chart in later versions of Excel, you’ll see three icons appear at the upper right edge: the plus icon, the paint brush icon, and the filter icon. The plus icon is actually a fly out menu called Chart Elements. When you click the icon, you’ll see a list of common chart elements displayed as checkboxes. This menu lets you quickly enable and disable chart elements. Here you’ll find options for a long list of chart elements, including axis and axis titles, the chart title, Data labels, Data table, error bars, gridlines, legend, and trendlines. For example, to add data labels to this chart, click the plus icon, then check Data labels. The menu actually has two levels. To access a second level click the arrow to the right of a given element. Excel will then display a menu of available sub options. For example, I can use that menu to move the data labels outside the bars, or inside the bars. The paint brush icon is named chart styles and let’s you access chart styles and  colors. Use the scrollbar to see your chart previewed with each style. And then just click to apply a style. The Paint brush icon also allows you to apply color schemes. Click the color tab to see the colors available. To apply, just select and click away from the chart. Notice that chart styles and colors available in the paint brush icon are also available on the Design tab of the ribbon, Under Chart Tools. Finally, the filter icon is called Chart Filters. This menu lets you filter the data is displayed in the chart. You can use the filter icon to add or remove both Data series and individual categories. The automatic preview will show you items in the chart as you hover over them. You can use the master checkbox at the top to quickly toggle the filter for all items, either on or off. Click the Apply button to make a change.

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.