What Is a Chart's Plot Area in Microsoft Excel?

by Dana Schafer

A plot area in Microsoft Excel is the area where the data in your chart is plotted. The plot area is usually displayed with a default background and border color. The plot area changes for different chart types, such as 2-D or 3-D.

2-D Chart Plot Areas

The plot area on a 2-D chart contains data markers, gridlines, data labels, trendlines and additional chart items that you customize for your chart area. The plot area is surrounded by the chart area, which includes the axes, title and legend.

3-D Chart Plot Areas

The plot area on a 3-D chart contains data markers, gridlines, data labels, trendlines, walls, floor, axes, axis titles and tick-mark labels. Basically, the 3-D chart adds some features that are only in the chart area of the 2-D chart.

Difference Between Plot Area and Chart Area

The chart area is the area of the entire chart. All charts have a chart area and all chart areas have a plot area.

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About the Author

Based in Huntington Beach, Calif., Dana Schafer has been writing environmental articles and grant proposals since 2006. Schafer has written for Grace Unlimited Corporation and Youth Have Vision. Schafer is in the process of receiving a Master of Science in biology from California State University, Long Beach.

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