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Figure 25-33. Use the Pattern tab to apply a repeating geometrical design to your background area.
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Use the dialog box to select foreground and background colors; you will see samples of the available patterns in your chosen colors. The name of the selected pattern appears above the foreground and background colors, and a larger sample of the selection appears in the lower right corner of the dialog box. 659
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Part 8: Creating Charts
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If you don t care for solids, gradients, and patterns, why not fill your background areas or data markers with textures or pictures You can use images in a wide variety of supported formats, or you can use one of the 24 texture images supplied by Excel. The latter evokes familiar materials, such as oak, marble, and cloth. For example, Figure 25-34 shows a fish fossil texture applied to a chart s plot area.
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Figure 25-34. We ve applied a fish fossil texture to the plot area of this chart.
To apply a texture to an area, click the Fill Effects button, click the Texture tab, and then select a texture from the gallery. If you don t find a satisfactory texture there, click Other Textures. In the ensuing dialog box, you can select any supported graphic file (Enhanced Metafile, Windows Metafile, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, Compressed Windows Enhanced Metafile, Compressed Windows Metafile, Compressed Macintosh PICT, Kodak Photo CD, PC Paintbrush, CorelDraw, CGM, EPS, FPX, WordPerfect Graphics, Tag Image, Macintosh PICT, and Photodraw) available on your system. Excel treats the specified image as repeating wallpaper as if you used it as wallpaper on your desktop. If you want a single image, instead of a repeating image, use the Picture tab instead of the Texture tab.
I can t get rid of the background texture Okay, you ve figured out that fish fossils don t really enhance the presentation-worthiness of your chart. Now what You might suppose that somewhere on that Texture (or Picture) dialog box there would be an off button. There isn t. If Excel s Undo command isn t available, you can remove the texture, or picture, by selecting the formatted area and then choosing Edit, Clear. Alternatively, return to the Patterns dialog box. Instead of clicking Fill Effects button, select None in the Area section.
Part 8: Creating Charts
Enhancing the Appearance of Your Charts If you prefer to use a single image, click the Picture tab, click Select Picture, and then find the image you want. Excel supports the same formats here as on the Texture tab. After you select an image, it appears on the Picture tab (see Figure 25-35).
Figure 25-35. Use the Picture tab instead of the Texture tab if you want a single image, not a set of tiled images, to appear on your chart area or plot area.
Note If you try to drag an image file from Windows Explorer onto a chart element, Windows changes your mouse pointer to a plus sign, which generally signifies that you re about to perform a drag-and-drop operation. Unfortunately, dragging and dropping has no effect in this context. When you apply a picture, as opposed to a texture, to an area other than a data marker, Excel uses a single copy of that image and adjusts the image s size and aspect ratio as necessary to fill the background area. In many cases, that adjustment of size or aspect ratio produces unsatisfactory results. If you need an untiled image and don t want Excel to expand or compress it, put the image on the worksheet itself (not the chart), and then embed the chart on top of the image. We ll cover that approach in more detail in a moment. When you apply a picture to a data marker, Excel gives you a choice of three formatting options. Stretch (the default) displays one copy of your picture for each marker and stretches the picture to fit. Stack displays as many copies of the picture as needed to fill the marker, leaving each copy at its original size. Use Stack And Scale To to make as many copies of the picture as needed to represent some number of units along the value axis. Figure 25-36 shows a chart with stretched pictures applied to column markers. We could have effectively used either of the other two options here Stack or Stack And Scale To but the vertical distortion of the happy and sad faces, exaggerating the smiles and frowns, adds a mildly comedic touch that does no harm and might help the chart make its point.