• Customising surface plots in Excel 2010

    by  • October 15, 2010 • excel, office 2010 • 0 Comments

    I’ve got a bunch of data in three columns (x,y,z) which I put into a cross tab and output as a surface and contour plot in Excel 2010. I wanted to customise the colours used, remove the shading and filter labels in order to paste the graph into a document. Just a quick heads up for some articles that helped me achieve all these.

    Removing shading

    The following article also applies to Excel 2010. Unfortunately there still is no option to remove the shading from the user interface, so you have to resort to a bit of VB scripting.

    Remove shading from a surface chart in Excel 2007 –¬†http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/excelchart/thread/2b147908-636b-4445-9262-46463406accb

    Colouring the plots

    Here, the essence is that to colour the plot yourself, you have to colour each legend item individually. Do this by selecting the legend (make sure it’s not the entire legend!), then right click and select ‘Format Band’. Original article:¬†Formatting Surface Charts part in Surface and Contour Charts in Excel 2007 – http://pubs.logicalexpressions.com/pub0009/LPMArticle.asp?ID=447

    Removing filter labels

    The filter labels serve a very good purpose when you want to filter individual rows or columns but get in the way a little if you want to embed the graph into a document. If you want to remove the filter labels, the toggle button to do so is tucked away in PivotChart Tools, which pops up if you select the surface plot derived from Pivot Table data. Then click the Analyse tab and click ‘Field Buttons’ to toggle between showing and hiding the filter labels.


    .NET developer at thetrainline.com, previously web developer at MRM Meteorite. Awarded a PhD in misbehaviour detection in wireless ad-hoc networks. A keen C# ASP.net developer bridging the gap with APIs and JavaScript frameworks, one web app at a time.


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