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Excel The Format Dialog Box Offers a New Trick

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The Format Dialog Box
Offers a New Trick

Problem: I was formatting the chart axis, using the Format Axis dialog box. I was working in the Axis Options category. I accidentally clicked outside the dialog and clicked one of the columns in the chart. All of a sudden, I was transported to the Format Data Series dialog. What is going on?

Strategy: This is an amazing new feature in Excel 2007. There is a single Format dialog box for every drawing object. While the dialog is displayed, you can click on any new object on the worksheet, and the Format dialog box will change to offer settings for that object.

In a chart, you can display the Format dialog once and keep changing the formatting for other elements. For example, you might start formatting the axis. You can then choose Series 1 from the Current Selection dropdown and format that series. You can then choose Chart Title from the dropdown and format the title. When you are finished, you close the Format dialog box.

Additional Details: You can even access ribbon commands while the Format dialog is displayed. For example, you might need to select Layout, Chart Title, Centered Overlay Title to add a title to a chart. You can do this without closing the Format dialog box.

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