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How to: Create and Modify a Chart

  • 9 min to read

These examples demonstrate how to create a basic chart and specify its settings.

Select the action you wish to perform.

Add and Position a Chart

All charts embedded in a worksheet are stored in the chart collection accessible using the Worksheet.Charts property. To create a chart, add it to the chart collection by utilizing the ChartCollection.Add method and pass the following parameters: the required chart type (ChartType) and the CellRange object containing data for the chart (this parameter is optional and can be omitted, so you can manually add data series to your chart). Refer to the Charting topic for information on how to organize data in the source range to create a chart.

To position the created chart in a worksheet, use one of the following approaches.

The example below demonstrates how to create a 3-D pie chart using the ChartCollection.Add method overload that allows you to specify a CellRange containing chart data.

Worksheet worksheet = workbook.Worksheets["chartTask1"];
workbook.Worksheets.ActiveWorksheet = worksheet;

// Create a pie chart and specify its location.
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.Pie3D, worksheet["B2:C7"]);
chart.TopLeftCell = worksheet.Cells["E2"];
chart.BottomRightCell = worksheet.Cells["K15"];

// Set the chart style.
chart.Style = ChartStyle.ColorGradient;

Add or Remove Data Series

If you did not specify the range containing chart data in the ChartCollection.Add method, you can define it later by using one of the following approaches.

  • Pass the required data range to the ChartObject.SelectData method. The method's direction parameter allows you to specify the data direction: whether the series values are arranged in columns (ChartDataDirection.Column) or rows (ChartDataDirection.Row).
  • Utilize the SeriesCollection.Add method to plot a data series on your chart. Using this method, you can fully control the number of series on your chart and explicitly specify data that should be plotted along the category and value axes. Moreover, this method is extremely useful if you wish to plot data contained in noncontiguous ranges. For example, you can plot a data series with arguments from Column B and values from the Column D.
Worksheet worksheet = workbook.Worksheets["chartTask3"];
workbook.Worksheets.ActiveWorksheet = worksheet;

// Create a chart and specify its location.
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered);
chart.TopLeftCell = worksheet.Cells["H2"];
chart.BottomRightCell = worksheet.Cells["N14"];

// Add chart series using worksheet ranges as the data sources.
chart.Series.Add(worksheet["D2"], worksheet["B3:B6"], worksheet["D3:D6"]);
chart.Series.Add(worksheet["F2"], worksheet["B3:B6"], worksheet["F3:F6"]);

To remove an individual series from the chart, use the SeriesCollection.Remove or SeriesCollection.RemoveAt method.

The example below demonstrates how to remove the second series from the chart.

Worksheet worksheet = workbook.Worksheets["chartTask3"];
workbook.Worksheets.ActiveWorksheet = worksheet;

// Create a chart and specify its location.
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered, worksheet["B2:E6"]);
chart.TopLeftCell = worksheet.Cells["H2"];
chart.BottomRightCell = worksheet.Cells["N14"];

// Remove the series.
chart.Series.RemoveAt(1);

Change Chart Data References

After you create a chart, you can change the cell range from which data for the series arguments and values is retrieved. To do this, perform the steps below.

  1. Use the ChartData.FromRange method to create the ChartData object containing new data for the series.
  2. Assign the created object to the Series.Arguments or Series.Values property.

The example below demonstrates how to add data series to a chart and change the cell range containing data for a specific series.

The code uses the SeriesCollection.Add method to create a series and add it to the ChartObject.Series collection. To specify series values contained in the worksheet range, create a ChartData object using the ChartData.FromRange method and assign it to the Series.Values property.

The ChartText.SetReference method is used to link the Series.SeriesName to the content of the worksheet cell.

Worksheet worksheet = workbook.Worksheets["chartTask3"];
workbook.Worksheets.ActiveWorksheet = worksheet;

// Create a chart and specify its location.
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered);
chart.TopLeftCell = worksheet.Cells["H2"];
chart.BottomRightCell = worksheet.Cells["N14"];
// Add series using a worksheet range as the data source.
chart.Series.Add(worksheet["D2"], worksheet["B3:B6"], worksheet["D3:D6"]);
chart.Series.Add(worksheet["F2"], worksheet["B3:B6"], worksheet["F3:F6"]);

// Change the data range for the series values.
chart.Series[1].Values = ChartData.FromRange(worksheet["E3:E6"]);

// Specify the cell that is the source for the series name.
chart.Series[1].SeriesName.SetReference(worksheet["E2"]);

Change the Order of Data Series

By default, if your chart has multiple data series, they are plotted on a chart in the order they appear on a worksheet (from left to right if data is arranged in columns, or from top to bottom if data is arranged in rows). However, you can change this default order. Utilize the Series.BringForward or Series.SendBackward method to move the specified series up or down in the plotting order, one position at a time. To place the series before or behind all other series on a chart, use the Series.BringToFront or Series.SendToBack method.

Worksheet worksheet = workbook.Worksheets["chartTask3"];
workbook.Worksheets.ActiveWorksheet = worksheet;

// Create a chart and specify its location.
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.ColumnClustered, worksheet["B2:D6"]);
chart.TopLeftCell = worksheet.Cells["H2"];
chart.BottomRightCell = worksheet.Cells["N14"];

// Change the series order.
chart.Series[1].BringForward();

Change the Chart Type

After you created a chart, you may find that the chart you selected is not suitable and another chart type may better represent your data. In this case, there is no need to recreate the chart. Simply change the type of the entire chart using the ChartObject.ChangeType method. This method substitutes the existing chart with the chart you specified. If the operation cannot be completed, an exception is fired.

The example below demonstrates how to create a chart of the ChartType.PieExploded type. After that, the code attempts to change the chart type to ChartType.LineMarker using the ChartObject.ChangeType method. If you try to change the chart type to ChartType.StockHighLowClose (this line is commented), an exception will be thrown, because the data range is insufficient for this chart type, and the chart will be changed to ChartType.ColumnClustered.

Worksheet worksheet = workbook.Worksheets["chartTask1"];
workbook.Worksheets.ActiveWorksheet = worksheet;
ChartType type1 = ChartType.LineMarker;
// If a new chart type cannot be created with existing data, an exception is thrown.
//ChartType type1 = ChartType.StockHighLowClose;
ChartType type2 = ChartType.ColumnClustered;

// Create a chart and specify its location
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.PieExploded, worksheet["B2:C7"]);

// Change the chart type. 
try
{
    chart.ChangeType(type1);
}
catch (Exception e)
{
    MessageBox.Show(e.Message, "Incompatible chart type");
    chart.ChangeType(type2);
}

Change the Chart Type of a Series (Combination Chart)

Besides changing a type of the entire chart, you can also select a different chart type for an individual data series. This will automatically turn the chart into a combination chart. A combination chart is a complex chart that consists of two or more ChartView objects that consolidate series of the same chart type. To change the type of a single data series, call the Series.ChangeType method. If the series type you specified differs from the types of the existing ChartView objects (ChartView.ViewType), a new ChartView containing your series will be created, otherwise, the series will be added to the existing ChartView of the same type.

Important

Not all chart types can be combined (for example, it is impossible to combine the 2-D and 3-D chart types). If you select a type that does not logically connect with the existing chart type, the resulting chart will contain only one ChartView of the most recently added type.

Compatible chart types are listed below.

Worksheet worksheet = workbook.Worksheets["chartTask5"];
workbook.Worksheets.ActiveWorksheet = worksheet;

// Create a chart and specify its location.
Chart chart = worksheet.Charts.Add(ChartType.LineMarker, worksheet["B2:D8"]);
chart.TopLeftCell = worksheet.Cells["F2"];
chart.BottomRightCell = worksheet.Cells["L15"];

// Change the type of the second series.
chart.Series[1].ChangeType(ChartType.ColumnClustered);

// Use the secondary axis.
chart.Series[1].AxisGroup = AxisGroup.Secondary;

// Specify the position of the legend.
chart.Legend.Position = LegendPosition.Top;
See Also