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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    I am using Excel 2007 on Vista.
    I have not used the chart feature before, so am a complete novice there.
    I have data for expenses in a list of categories. Each category is on a line, and there is a column for the expenses in each of five years.
    When I ask Excel to make a bar chart, it seems to manage the data alright, but the chart is very small and the bars for each year are each just a line so you can't really tell one from the other.

    I tried putting more space between the labels on the axis, but only the labels moved - the bars didn't move or spread out.

    I tried a few suggestions I found online, but so far nothing has made any difference. It seems like this should be very simple. A bar graph is such a common thing!
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    -cynthia

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger AndrewKKWalker's Avatar
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    I hid the other copy.
    How many years worth of data are you plotting as a bar/column chart?
    Andrew

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP rory's Avatar
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    You should be able to resize the chart by dragging the bottom right corner. If your year values are actual dates rather than just a year number, then you probably have a timescale axis which would explain the small bar width.
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

  4. #4
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    I have five years worth of data, and the years are listed simply as years (e.g.2009)

    Thanks for the tip about dragging. I had tried that yesterday - but what I didn't notice was that Excel apparently takes some time to recalculate when I hit the bottom of the screen. It appeared that was as far as I could drag. But this morning I notice that it just takes a little time (the longer the chart the more seconds it takes) before the scroll bar moves up and gives me more space to continue expanding. Yesterday this phenomenon made it appear that there was a limit to how far I could expand it.

    Also, the original spreadsheet was made by our bookkeeper and had three blank columns between the labels and the data. Excel considered this data so was trying to make eight bars on every category instead of just five, which made the original chart just that much more crowded. I've now removed the blank columns in the original spreadsheet and dragged the chart out to a good looking size.

    So as long as it looks okay when I print it (won't have a printer available until later in the day)

    Thank you for helping me with my skinny line problem!
    -cynthia

  5. #5
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    Working with print setup, I still have a problem. Excel appears to want to fit the whole thing onto one page. I changed the page size from letter to legal, and then it expanded nicely onto three pages. So I put it back on letter size but I didn't like where the page breaks fell so I went back to legal. I made no other changes, but once I went back to legal Excel is putting it all on one page again and it's too small! Switching between letter and legal no longer changes this situation.

  6. #6
    WS Lounge VIP rory's Avatar
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    If you have a chart that needs 3 pages, then your chart is probably failing its purpose - to communicate information. If you just have a chart selected, it will print as one page. If you embed it in a sheet and print the sheet, you can split the chart over multiple sheets, but again, that's probably not a good idea.
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

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