5. Changing the Chart Color Scheme


By default, Excel's colour scheme is not easy on the eye. Let's change this by creating our own colour scheme and saving it as a template for future use.

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  1. Charts Style Templates (00:04)

    You’ll often want to change the color scheme of a chart in Excel, for example to match your company’s color scheme. The easiest way to change a chart’s color scheme is to select the chart, then go to the Design tab, and select one of the provided templates under the Chart Styles option.

    As an alternative, you can create your own style template. To demonstrate this, we create a blue template style for our stacked column chart. To change the color of a data series, we right click the series, then adjust the fill color to the color we want.

    Once we’ve created a color scheme, we can save it as a template that can be applied to future charts. To do this, we select the chart, then right click the chart area, and select Save as Template

  2. Applying a Style Template (01:47)

    After we create a chart style, we can apply it quickly to other charts. To apply a template to a chart, we select the chart, then go to the Format tab from the ribbon, and select Change Chart Type. From this window, we select Templates, and choose the template we want to apply. The chart will automatically update to use the color scheme we saved.


In the previous lesson, we learned how to format the horizontal axis of a chart. In this lesson, we'll learn how to change the color scheme of a chart.

The default color scheme that Excel provides in charts is not ideal.

You'll often want to change the colors of your charts to make them more readable or to be aligned with your company's color template.

The easiest way to change the color format of one of your charts is to go to the design tab in the ribbon when the chart is selected and pick one of the pre-formatted styles under the chart's styles dropdown.

To see the full list, we'll click on this button. When you click on a style, your chart will update accordingly.

If you're not happy with these pre-formatted styles, you can also add your own style by manually changing the color of each data series.

I like to use a style that starts with a very dark blue color and ends with a very light blue color. We'll select the bottom data series, right click, and change the fill color to a very dark blue.

We'll then select the next status series and repeat for a slightly lighter color.

I'll repeat this off-camera for the remaining two data series.

Once you're happy with the chart's color scheme, you'll want to save this format so that you don't have to perform these color changes every time you create a new chart in the future. To accomplish this, we'll save it as a template.

We'll select the chart and go to save as template.

We'll call this Blue Stacked Column template and then save.

If we want to apply this template to a chart we'll simply go to that chart make sure it's selected change chart type go to templates and select the blue stacked column template. We'll then press okay. As we can see the axis and the colors are changed according to the original template.

Creating templates can be a pretty big time-saver, particularly if you use the same color scheme in all of your charts.

When I'm building charts, I tend to use two dimensional designs without any borders because I find them the easiest to read.

In the chart styles tab, there are a lot of other options available including 3D, borders, and even with a black background.

You should experiment with these options until you find a style that best suits your needs.

Charts and Dashboards
Charts in Depth


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