Change the Color of a Series in a Chart in Excel – How To

Changing the color of a single series inside of a chart or graph in Microsoft Excel is something that most people working with charts and data for presentations need to do at one point or another. Luckily it’s very simple once you know how. The problem starts because common sense would lead us to believe that the first place we should check would be in the Chart Settings area, and that’s a mess of settings that are very tedious to play around with. But, there is a much easier way!



Step 1 – Pick a Chart to Change

You’ve probably already completed this step, but the first thing that you need to do is open your Microsoft Excel file and figure out which chart or graph you would like to change. In our example we are just using our Trade Show Checklist. This same technique works in all charts and graphs as far as I can tell. Line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, stacked charts, area charts, etc.. It should also work with any version of MS Excel that you are using, but please let me know in the comments below if you have an older version that it doesn’t work with. I’ve tested this on Excel 2003, Excel 2007, Excel 2010, Excel for Mac 2011, Excel 2013 and the version included with Microsoft Office 365 (Including the online version). Enough with the technicalities, lets move on to the reason why you came and learn how to change the color of a series in Excel.

Step 1 Screenshot - Change the Color of a Series

Step 2 – Single Click Anywhere in the Chart Area

Click anywhere in chart area to select the entire chart object. You will notice that all sections of the Excel chart are now highlighted.

Step 2 Screenshot - Changing the color of series

Step 3 – Single Click on the Series you would like to Change

Click on the exact series of the chart that you would like to change the color of. Once you click on it, you will notice that now just that section of the graph is highlighted.

Step 3 Screenshot - Changing the color of series

Step 4 – Select the New Color of Fill

Simply go up to the menu bar and click the Fill Bucket and select whichever color you would like to change the chart to. See, I told you it was simple! That’s all it takes to change the color of a series in a chart in Excel. Repeat on all series you would like to change.  If you are trying to make you charts look good and need some ideas in terms of colors, check out Kuler a great tool from Adobe to find color schemes – https://kuler.adobe.com/explore/

You’ll notice that the color in the legend also updates automatically.

Step 5 Screenshot - Change the Color of a Series

Well there you have it. I hope that helps you change the color of a series in Excel. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.


Share this Post


About the Author

Rick Bannerman

Facebook Twitter Google+

Rick Bannerman is a marketing specialist with a broad range of experience in web design, inbound marketing, and marketing analytics. As a digital marketing consultant, Rick handles marketing strategy and planning, project management, and the optimization of interactive marketing channels.

Comments 6

    1. Post
      Author
  1. Could I do it in auto?
    I want to make color change with digital of the same column.
    Thank you for your clearly sharing.
    It help me a lot !

    1. Post
      Author
  2. I’m trying to make 2 different types of charts have the same colors for the same series and points.
    My legends in each chart have the same info but I cannot figure out how to make the colors the same in each chart.
    chart 1 = bar graph, legend is points “back, bruise, cut, foot…etc”
    chart 2 = stacked bar graph, legend series is “back, bruise, cut, foot…etc”

    So, I want “back” to be red in both charts, “bruise” to be blue in both charts…etc..
    help!

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *