Area view

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

Q: I am trying to prepare an area chart in Excel 2010 with multiple ranges of data, but no matter which sort order I use, some of the underlying data remains obscured (see below). What is the best way to fix this?

A: It appears that your best solution is to use a line chart instead of an area chart, but assuming an area chart is the chart type you desire, you should change the area chart’s solid fill colors to semitransparent fill colors as follows. Right-click on a data series in your chart and select Format Data Series from the popup menu. Select Fill, Solid fill, and then, from the Fill Color section, select a color from the Color dropdown box and slide the Transparency chevron to 50%. Repeat this procedure for each data area in your chart (selecting a unique fill color each time), then close the dialog box. The result is an area chart in which all data areas are displayed semitransparently, so you can see each data set as shown in the example below.

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