Hawaii Real Estate Resource


Advanced formatting to dress up Excel charts

Note that in the discussion below, menu items may vary somewhat among different Excel versions

I received a request to show how to add a background image to an Excel chart to dress it up.  Here is the step-by-step procedure to do that.

The standard Excel chart looks like this (see below)

But it can easily be made to look like this (see below)

If you prefer the former, then read no further.  But if you want to dress it up, here are the steps.

Left click within the chart plot area to select it, then right click and select "Format Plot Area..." to get the following menu. 


Click on "Fill Effects..." to get the following

Click on the "Picture" tab to get the following

Click "Select Picture..." to get the following

Navigate in the menu structure of your to find the picture you want to use (located on your computer's drive), then click "Insert" and hit "OK" two times

Voila!  That's it for the background picture. 

Now to dress up the borders...

Repeat the above steps except select the entire chart area and then in the "Fill Effects" menu, select "Texture" instead of "Picture" and then scroll down until you find the texture you like.  Here is the final result

The hard part is collecting the data and creating the chart so why not go the extra step and apply the window dressing.

Visit www.KauaiRocks.com


Richard Dolbeare
Accredited Buyer Representative & e-PRO
Century 21 All Islands, the #1 brokerage on Kauai
(808) 651-4550
(866) 757-8239 (FAX)

Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B) photo


Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B)

Keller Williams Realty(808) 651-4550


www.MauiSandCastles.com and www.KauaiRocks.com 

 Hawaii multi-island specialist, Maui & Kauai
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Comment balloon 35 commentsRichard T. Dolbeare • June 19 2007 03:31AM


Richard - Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful secret with us.  I was delighted when I saw your first post and my heart sank when you said you'd show us how to get the photo in on another post...well, I've been wathcing and waiting!  Pounce---another great AR idea adopted.  Did you figure this our or did you learn how to do it somewhere?  In either case, it's nothing short of brilliant.

Marlene Bridges,REALTOR®

Certified Residetnia Specialist®

Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

Orange County, California

Posted by Marlene Bridges, Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate (Village Real Estate Services, Inc.) about 12 years ago

Hi Marlene,

Thanks for your kind comments.  I'm not sure it's brilliant but it's certainly fun to have eye-catching charts.  I'm pretty much self-taught plus I keep my eyes open for tips by others which can be invaluable.


Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) about 12 years ago
Thanks for putting this up there.  Though simple, many folks either don't know how to do this (you are helping them immensely) or are too lazy (people like me).  Both sets appreciate it!
Posted by Kaushik Sirkar (Call Realty, Inc.) about 12 years ago
I always wondered how people did this!  Thank you very much for sharing.  Unfortunately,three of the images failed to show, but your instructions were very clear.  I'll have to try it today.
Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) about 12 years ago
This one is way over my head so early, I'm bookmarking it though.  Great stuff Richard!
Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) about 12 years ago
OK, looks pretty impressive. I will give it a shot - but I am no Richard Dolbeare! Thanks
Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 12 years ago

Richard,   Thanks for sharing.  I am just starting this blogging thing at Active Rain and I love all the tips and ideas I am learning.  This looks easy.  You can create a background save it and use it over and over.  What a great tool! 



Posted by Kathy Seger - RedHotAtlantaHomes.com about 12 years ago

Hi Richard,

Thank you for the instructions. 

This will come in handy, as soon as I figure out how to make a chart.  :)  (shouldn't be too hard, right?) 

Thanks, Doreen

Posted by Doreen McPherson, Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~ (Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe) about 12 years ago
Your the Man. Thanks. Just that simple. At first, I thought to my self here we go again. Just as you describe. Great information. Great Post.
Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) about 12 years ago
Richard - thanks for helping. We have found that the best computer tutorials anywhere are at lynda.com. Check them out. It's outrageous what they offer. Their excel course is excellent.
Posted by Gary Bolen, CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information (McCall Realty) about 12 years ago
Nice. Thanks for the detailed instructions
Posted by Brian Barnes (First National Bank of Layton) about 12 years ago
Very cool, Richard.  Thanks so much for sharing this little secret maneuver.  It really does dress up boring charts.
Posted by Jim & Maria Hart, Charleston, SC Real Estate (Brand Name Real Estate) about 12 years ago
Richard, thanks for the post. I so appreciate knowing how to do this now. I have bookmarked and rated your post.
Posted by Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor, AzLadyInRed (Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC) about 12 years ago
I think I am up for the challenge. I love excel. Excel and I got close in college!
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) about 12 years ago
This is really great.  I do not usually add photos....I also believe you can change the photo transparency to make it less prominent. I'll give this a shot.
Posted by Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375, Real Estate Services You can Trust! (Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions") about 12 years ago

That is a good tip.  I did not know you could do that with Excel.  I think I will incorporate that into my next market update that I send out.  I will find some statistics to make it look nice thanks to the new tip I just learned! I'm bookmarking this one. :-D

Posted by Kimberly Grant, Real Estate Agent - Huntsville Alabama (Exit Leon Crawford Realty) about 12 years ago
That's a 5, Richard! I use Excel every day, and frequently do charts, but have never thought to add this pizazz to them. Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) about 12 years ago
Excellent information. Thanks for sharing with us all.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 12 years ago
Thanks Richard for the tips.  We will follow your steps and produce quality excel output. 
Posted by Tim Wade (RE/MAX Realty Champions) about 12 years ago
Richard,  thanks by using your technique and then sending to pdf24.com or other converter sites the information can be protected and placed on websites.
Posted by Gary Smith (Agent Marketing Today) about 12 years ago


Very informative post. I've used excel for years and did not know this was available.

Posted by Doug Willis (RE/MAX Property Concierge) about 12 years ago

Thanks Richard,

Don't know why but the first 2 and the last shots don't show for me? Just the redx.

 Couple of basic questions if you don't mind.

How do you get the screenshots on the post?

How do you get clear excel graphs and charts on a post? Particularly on a wordpress blog?

Thanks again for the infromative post.

Posted by Keith Jeppson - Salt Lake City Real Estate (Everest Realty Group) about 12 years ago

Hi Keith,

Not sure if I understand your questions correctly but I offer the following information.

I use CaptureWizPro for screenshots that can't be handled by a simple PrintScreen (not sure which I did for my post).  CaptureWizPro does lots more than the PrintScreen function which only captures what you can see.  I uploaded the images to my own website and referenced the images there in the ActiveRain blog html code.

You may also be interested in my 6/15 posting How to copy an Excel chart to an image file.

Hope this is helpful.  Feel free to follow-up if I didn't directly address your questions.


Richard Dolbeare

visit www.KauaiRocks.com


Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) about 12 years ago

This is awesome! Thanks for the information and I think I'm going to try this on my Friday post if I can even change my chart up to this format by then. If not, then the next Friday as this looks awesome!

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home - www.IFoundYourNewHome.com

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 11 years ago

Best Wishes Todd.

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) almost 11 years ago

I found you through Ann Cummings post and your charts REALLY caught my eye!  THANKS FOR THE MOST EXCELLENT INFO!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 10 years ago

I, too, found this through Ann Cummings post and I can't wait to try it!

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Richard, why don't you update and/or repost this for all the people who didn't see it when you originally posted it in 2007?

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Hi Todd, Renee, & Margaret.  Wow, I posted this in 2007 and it's already 2009?  Unbelievable how time flies!  The techniques are still current, even for those of us who have migrated to the latest version of Office, Office 2007.  Perhaps a short post with a link to this is the way to go.

Thanks for your suggestion and positive comments.  And most importantly, have fun!!!

Margaret--I lived in Maryland for 35 years and lived right in Crofton for the last year after selling my home and preparing for my move to Hawaii.  Must admit I miss it, Maryland is a very special place.

Aloha,  Richard

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 10 years ago

Thanks so much, this is really great information!

Posted by Diane Aurit, Lake Norman Real Estate (LKN Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

Richard, thanks for the step by step.  I am in marketing mode this weekend and starting it with a bang on AR.  Every post I'm reading is teaching me how to add a little something something to my posts.  Thanks!

Posted by Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 305.81.HOUSE (46873), GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay | (eXp Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

Bliss, joy, excitment!  Yipeee, now I can dress up my market reports!  Thanks so much for sharing.

Posted by Tamara Inzunza, Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living (RE/MAX Executives) over 9 years ago

Hi all, I'm glad you found it helpful.  Happy charting!

Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) over 9 years ago

I am learning how to do this  tonight so a three year old post is still getting comments. Shows you the power of blogging.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) about 9 years ago

Hi Cheryl.  Ah yes, it's evening there already.  Hope you have fun with your charts.  BTW, I lived in Maryland for 35 years before moving to Hawaii.  It's a great state and I miss all the things I used to do there (boating, hiking, skiing, Storm Bros ice cream, etc).


Posted by Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (Keller Williams Realty Maui) about 9 years ago

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