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Save Time with Excel Chart Templates

Excel Chart Templates

Did you know you can create your own Excel chart templates? With a chart template you format it once and then use it again and again. You can even set it as your default chart.

They’re great if you typically spend a few minutes on each chart formatting the colours, fonts, axis labels etc., which many of us do to keep our reports in line with company branding.

Or maybe you just don’t like the technicolour default chart formats, after all they’re not great. Just look at the one below.

Excel 2010 Default Chart Format

Any Excel user worth their salt will be making some formatting changes to create a more elegant chart that doesn’t overwhelm their readers:

Chart Template Formatted

The softer grey formatting of the axis labels, legend and title in the above chart result in the columns being the most prominent information – just as it should be.

Setting Up a Chart Template

To set up a chart so that it’s available as a Chart Template is easy:

  1. Format your chart the way you want.
  2. In Excel 2007/2010: with the chart selected go to the Chart Tools: Design tab of the ribbon and click ‘Save As Template’:
  3. Saving Chart Template Menu in Excel 2010

    In Excel 2013 right-click the chart and select ‘Save as Template’:

    Saving Chart Template in Excel 2013

  4. The ‘Save Chart Template’ dialog box will open. Give your chart file a name and click ‘Save’. Note: the ‘Save as type’ will be set to .crtx and the folder path will be your Microsoft/Templates/Charts:
  5. Saving Formatted Chart Templates

Using Chart Templates

Now that you’ve set up a template you can find it in the Insert Chart dialog box:

Using Saved Chart Template

Editing Chart Templates

If you want to delete or rename templates you can click on the ‘Manage Templates’ button in the ‘Insert Chart’ dialog box and the folder containing your templates will open.

Managing and Editing Saved Chart Templates

Setting Your Default Chart

If you want to set it as your default chart simply select it in the ‘My Templates’ list and then click the ‘Set as Default Chart’ button.

Setting Chart Template as Default

Now when you press ALT+F1 to insert a chart you’ll get your new Default chart nicely formatted just as you like

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