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Change Bar Color in MS Excel

When you create charts in MS Excel that have only one series of data, especially bar type charts, do you find yourself bored with it?

I mean… they always seem to be created in the same color.



If you’re looking to liven things up then why not do something about the color… or lack of it!

Now some of you may know that you can click on individual bars to change the colors manually but it sure would be nice if Excel would change them for us.

Fortunately, it will so let’s take a look at how to make that happen.

Obviously, we need to have a chart created.

With that done you need to right-click on one of the bars and choose Format Data Series.


In older versions of Excel you’ll see a dialog box like this:


Go to the Options tab and check the box for “Vary colors by point” and click OK.

If you don’t care for the bar colors then you’ll have to click on a single bar and change it manually. If you’re going to end up doing this with a lot of them then you might as well go with the manual method from the beginning.

Should it be only one or two that you want to change this process combined with a few manual changes might be the way to go.

As for my Excel 2007 users when you choose Format Data Series your dialog box looks like this:


Go to the Fill category, check the box for “Vary colors by point” and then click Close.

If you don’t care for the colors that the bars become then you’ll have a bit more to do – but not much!

While you could choose to click on a single bar and manually change the color I’d like to recommend that you simply change the color scheme (Page Layout tab on the Ribbon, Colors button).

Using this method of color choices will ensure that the bars are color coordinated while still being different. You’ve just got to love those color schemes in Office 2007 – they can make life so much easier.

Anyway, regardless of your Excel version, multi-colored bars for a single data series really don’t have to be that difficult to create… and it’s so nice to have bars of a different color.

~ April