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Change Graph Bar Shape in Excel

So, if you remember this tip then you’re up to speed on one way to liven things up when you’re working with charts in MS Excel… multi-colored bars are easy and definitely more interesting than the default.

If you’re like most people I’ve seen using Excel then you created the chart as quickly as possible meaning that you have rectangular bars… or, maybe if you were adventurous you have 3D rectangles.

Assuming that’s what happened then part of the reason you’re looking to give the chart a face lift may be those boring old shapes.

Today I’d like to take a look at a way to use the bar shapes to give that chart a little pizzazz without too much effort – or starting over! In fact, if you’re already changing colors then you’re just a few clicks away from my next suggestion.

First, you’ll need to right-click on the bars of the chart and choose Format Data Series.

Once you’re into your dialog box we’re going to take a look at the types of shapes we can choose from.

In older versions of Excel you’ll need the Shape tab.


In Excel 2007 you’ll need the Shape category selected.


Either way you simply have to choose one of the custom shapes and then check to see if you like the results… you may just find the extra zip that you were looking to give to your data presentation!