Whether creating charts in Excel, it’s important to know how to resize your charts to fit your needs.
A chart that’s too small can be hard to read, while one too large may dominate your worksheet.
In this article, we’ll walk through simple steps to resize your Excel charts with precision – making them just right for the data they represent.
This tutorial shows five techniques for resizing a chart in Excel.
Method #1: Drag and Resize the Chart
The best way to resize a chart in Excel is to manually do it by dragging the edges of the chart.
Below are the steps to this:
- Select the chart by clicking the chart area. You will see small circles called “handles” surrounding the chart, as depicted below:
- Hover any of the handles on the corners of the chart until the cursor turns into a double-headed arrow, as shown below:
Note: To maintain the aspect ratio of the chart while resizing, it’s essential to use the handles on the corners of the chart. Avoid using the handles on the edges of the chart, as this can cause the chart to become disproportionate.
- Click and drag the handle inward or outward to change the chart’s size to the preferred size.
- Release the mouse button to set the new dimensions.
Pro Tip: If you have multiple charts in the worksheet and you want to resize all of them in one go, hold the Control key, select the charts you want to resize, and then resize any one of the charts. This will change the size of all the selected charts.
Also read: How to Overlay Graphs in Excel
Method #2: Use the Sizing Options on the Format Tab
If you want all the charts to have a specific height and width, you can do this by using the resize option in the Format Tab.
You can resize the chart by manually setting its height and width using the following steps:
- Select the chart by clicking its “Chart Area.” You will see small circles called handles surrounding the chart. The “Format” contextual tab will become activated on the Ribbon.
- On the “Format” tab, enter the specific dimensions on the height and width fields or use the up and down arrows to adjust the size.
As you enter the dimensions, the chart is resized immediately.
One drawback of this method is the potential for entering values that cause the chart to resize disproportionately.
You can also select multiple charts and then enter the size values. This would then be applied to all the selected charts.
You can use the following method to lock the aspect ratio so that the chart resizes while maintaining the aspect ratio.
Also read: How to Add Border to a Chart in Excel?
Method #3: Use the Sizing Options on the Format Chart Area Task Pane
You can utilize the sizing options on the “Format Chart Area” task pane to resize a chart in Excel.
With this method, you can lock the aspect ratio so that the chart resizes while maintaining the aspect ratio.
You use the below steps to resize the chart while maintaining the aspect ratio:
- Right-click the chart just below the top edge.
- Choose “Format Chart Area” on the context menu that appears.
This step will open the “Format Chart Area” task pane on the right of the Excel window, as shown below:
Alternatively, you can access the “Format Chart Area” task pane by clicking the “Size and Properties” dialog box launcher on the bottom right corner of the “Size” group on the “Format” tab as shown below:
- On the “Format Chart Area” task pane, click the “Size & Properties” tab, open the “Size” menu, and select the “Lock aspect ratio” option.
Note: To ensure proportional resizing of the chart, selecting the “Lock aspect ratio” option is recommended before inputting the height and width dimensions.
- Enter the dimensions on the height and width fields, or use the up and down arrows to adjust the size.
The chart will be resized accordingly.
Note: Resizing the chart may cause some data labels or elements to become unreadable or overlap. Adjust the chart’s elements further to make it look visually appealing and easily understandable.
Also read: Save Excel Chart as Image (High Resolution)
Method #4: Move the Chart to a Chart Sheet
You can transfer the chart to a chart sheet to make it stand out.
This will give you the entire sheet to showcase the chart and provide sufficient space to display it without interference from other data or elements.
You can use the following steps to move a chart to a chart sheet:
- Select the chart by clicking its “Chart Area.” You will see small circles called “handles” surrounding the chart. The “Chart Design” contextual tab will be activated on the Ribbon.
- On the “Chart Design” tab, click “Move Chart” on the “Location” group.
- On the “Move Chart” dialog box that appears, select the “New sheet” option and click “OK.”
The chart will be moved to a chart sheet and prominently displayed as in the example below:
Also read: How to Delete Chart in Excel? (Manual & VBA)
Method #5: Resize the Cells Underneath the Chart
I recommend you use any of the previous four methods that I have covered above instead of using this method. However, I’m still covering this method it is good for you to know what happens when you resize or delete cells underneath the chart.
When using Excel, charts will, by default, adjust their size and position based on changes to the cells beneath them.
Do the following to resize the width of a chart:
- Hover over a column divider until you see a double-headed arrow, as shown below:
- To adjust the width of the chart, drag to the right to increase it or drag to the left to decrease it.
To resize the height of the chart, do the following:
- Hover over a row divider until you see a double-headed arrow as depicted below:
- To adjust the chart, drag downwards to increase its height or drag upwards to reduce its size.
By default, the cells underneath the charts make the chart size and move when you resize/delete the cells.
How to Control the Resizing and Movement of a Chart Along with Cells
At times, you may need to manage how charts move and resize while modifying the height of rows and width of columns in your worksheet.
You can achieve control using the following steps:
- Select the chart by clicking the chart area. You will see small circles called “handles” surrounding the chart, as shown below:
- Right-click the “Chart Area” and choose “Format Chart Area” on the shortcut menu that appears.
The “Format Chart Area” task pane will appear on the right of the Excel window.
- On the “Format Chart Area” task pane, open the “Size and Properties” tab.
- Click the “Properties” menu (notice that “Move and size with cells” is the default option) and do either of the following:
- Select the “Move but don’t size with cells” option if you want to make the chart remain with the cells when they move (for example, when the table or range with the cells is sorted), but keep the chart’s size unaffected by the changes to cell width and height.
- [Recommended] Select the “Don’t move or size with cells” to maintain the chart’s position and size regardless of any changes to cell position, height, and width.
In this tutorial, I showed you some simple ways you can use to resize charts in Excel.
I hope you found the tutorial helpful.
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