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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Chart series formatting - UI overhaul

Formatting chart series is currently very cumbersome, particularly on a chart with many series.

SUGGESTION: make a *series formatting window* open up for a given chart.
-The window displays all series simultaneously (each series is one row). Each column is an attribute (e.g. line type, line width, marker type, marker line color, etc. etc.). All attributes are also shown simultaneously.
-It should be possible to easily copy attributes (only some, or all) from one series to another, or to multiple others simultaneously.
-It should be possible to define and save attribute sets for a series that can then be selected from a drop-down list as another column in the table, that can be used across different charts, sheets, and workbooks

Many other usability features could be implemented in such a framework. The main thing is to get it into a tabular format where all series and all attributes are editable at the same time. Right now, I have to first select a single series in the chart, then in the properties window everything is multiple clicks away!

EASY VERSION: At the very least, the properties window should have all attributes accessible in the SAME TAB. I don't want to click on separate tabs for 'marker line type', 'marker line color', 'marker fill color', etc. etc. If I'm formatting the markers, I want to format all the aspects of the markers at the same time. Same for the lines. There is no need for any tabs here.

64 votes
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OP shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
Accepting Votes  ·  Scott Ruble (PM MSFT) responded  · 

We are looking at several ways to make formatting easier. This is an interesting approach that we will consider.

Scott [MSFT]


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  • BEV JACKSON commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Use format as was in 2003-easily edit each column or row of data rather than have all in an "array"

  • AdminScott Ruble (PM MSFT) (Admin, commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Scott Sobel - could you create a separate feature idea that covers your "Format Painter" idea? This is different from the original "UI Overhaul" post and I want to make sure people have the opportunity to vote on both.

    Scott [MSFT]

  • Scott Sobel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Also allow copying features/attributes/formatting from one chart to another!! Like Format Painter. But give this more control than what you have now with charts:
    -- Right now, if you change the X or Y axis labels, sometimes, unpredictability, they move their alignment, and if you have a series of say a dozon charts, they now all have different aligning X & Y axes. Looks unprofessional
    -- Similarly, Format Paint the size of the plot within the chart, so that you can align the start of the left, right, top & bottom plot areas the same among many plots. For example, if one chart has Y values in the millions, the plot window should be shrunk towards the right to allow for larger Y-axis value labeling. But another chart may have % values along its Y axis, and if the 2 charts are one above the other, the alignment of the start of the left side of the plot areas will be off. It would be nice to align the second chart exactly in line with the 1st chart.
    -- Matter of fact, please allow to know and control the coordinates of the chart and plot areas. That way you could always set the plot area to be 30 pixels from the left of the chart edge, and have it be 100 pixels wide, etc. I'm asking to be able to know the pixel coordinates.

  • Jon Peltier commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    In my chart utilities add-in, I have a similar dialog that shows all series, with fields showing series name, ranges containing name and X and Y values, series chart type, axis group, etc. The purpose of this dialog is to allow changing source data of multiple series in one go.

    Doing the same for formatting would be as valuable. I have not yet attempted it, as adding the formatting UI is a bigger deal than the simple text-based UI needed to modify ranges.

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