iWork Numbers – change the chart colors

July 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

iwork Numbers chart

A gripe about chart colors in Apple’s iWork Numbers

Q. I think Apple’s iWork Numbers is brilliant for charts, but I want more colors. For a chart with more than a few items in a series, when using the default color fills the colors get recycled. How can I set my own colors for each item?

A. Ok, just to illustrate the issue: say you have the chart in the screenshot above (it’s one of the spreadsheets built in to Numbers). The row ‘Cornflakes’ is using the same color as ‘Home.’ It seems that Numbers just recycles the available colors. This just makes most charts confusing to read. The solution is not immediately obvious, but we can do better. Let’s set the color manually…

iWork Numbers – How to change the chart colors

1. Click the chart to activate it:

select the chart

2. Click the series item you want to change (ie the chart item corresponding to the row or column in the table):

iwork select chart label

3. Make sure the Inspector palette is visible. Click the Inpector button on the toolbar if necessary:

inspector palette

4. Make sure the Graphic Inspector tab of the Inspector is active:

numbers color fill

5. Under Fill, click the color indicator. Choose a new color:

numbers chart color fill

6. Done!

iWork Numbers background

Apple’s Numbers bears some superficial resemblance to Excel, but it really is a whole other creature. I abandoned Excel a few years back and have been using Numbers ever since. I find the chart system more flexible than Excel’s, and it looks better. I’ve heard some grumbles about the number of formulas available, but for my money Numbers does everything I need.

By Jay Docherty


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