Ms. Compy Fix-It vs. Excel 2007’s Horizontal Axis Issues

Hi everybody! (“Hi, Dr. Nick!”)

Ms. Compy Fix-It here, with another workaround for all you folks wrestling with Excel 2007’s quirks.  This one is to do with Excel ignoring your pretty horizontal axis and deciding to do its own thing……

So let’s start off with my chart:


This looks okay to me.  But say I’d done some resizing within my Whole Chart Area and things have moved around a bit.


Whoops, that looks ugly!  The horizontal axis label’s on top of the legend and we can’t have that.  So, I’m going to resize the Inner Chart Area to move it up, right?  Well watch what happens.

 excel Example Pic - Post 2 - 2.1
Wait, since when did my data become negative?

I initially thought it had to do with the way I resized it.  I even drew a chart to figure out whether it was the Inner Chart Area or the Outer Chart Area resizing that made it a problem.  Turns out the problem is partially about resizing and partially about this:
excel Example Pic - Post 2 - 3

Ugh!  So then I zoomed in to 100% and it fixed my chart……… but guess what?  My other charts started messing up their horizontal axis-crossing data!

So…… turns out I don’t know a fool-proof method for getting rid of this quirk.  However, I do know that sometimes altering the Inner Chart Area and/or the Outer Chart Area can fix it, and other times the Zoom can fix it.

If you know why this is and can help us all out, please leave a comment!


Ms. Compy Fix-It is Back! With an Excel 2007 Data Labels Workaround

Well hello there!  It’s certainly been a while.  I hope everyone’s been doing well and not having too many computer struggles.

I am happy to report that I have a workaround for that annoying (and completely inexplicable) Excel 2007 quirk of not allowing chart data label resizing.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve struggled with this, so I’m very excited to share my workaround with you, even if it’s not a complete fix.

(I’m working on making 3 charts fit in a very tiny space, so forgive the use and misuse of gridlines, titles, etc.. I’ve had to pare it down to barebones 🙂 )

See how ugly they are?!  Ugh!  Well read on to see how to force it to use that extra space around it, like the pretty last graph.

In order to describe it properly, I’ll have to define what I mean when I say certain things:
“Whole Chart area” – the area that includes the chart, its axes, the title, and the legend (see below)
excel Example Pic 3.1
“Inner Chart area” – the area that gets selected that includes the data and not much else (see below)

So, in my struggles with this, I’ve noticed a few things:

  • Excel changes the data labels when you resize the Whole Chart area
  • Excel doesn’t change the data labels when you resize the Inner Chart area
  • Excel will not reliably change your data label size when you increase or decrease your font size (sometimes it will even act differently from one chart to the next!  I’m still trying to figure that part out…..)

So!  If you want to adjust your data labels – say they’re crazy-thin like mine above:

  1. expand the Whole Chart area until your data label is as wide as you’d like
  2. shrink the Inner Chart area until your chart is the size you’d like
  3. select the Whole Chart area and ensure your background is “None” – as it’s now quite huge and will cover any other data you have beside it (if you wanted a nice border around your chart, you can always just draw a rectangle shape with no background and it’ll work almost as well)
  4. move around your axis label and title, as they’ll no longer be centred
  5. if you’d like the font size to be bigger/smaller, give it a try.  I found the data labels I adjusted in this way were able to increase/decrease font size after as well.  Who knows, maybe this frees them from their Excel-prison shackles!

excel Example Pic 5

Has this helped solve your problem?  Let me know in the comments!  🙂

PowerPoint Just Wants to Hurt Your Feelings

Hi all, Ms. Compy Fix-It here.

Today, I found a new suggested solution to my PowerPoint constantly crashing.  I had the problem where any editing of embedded charts/graphs using Excel would often cause it to freeze and require the computer to shut down PowerPoint and “try to recover data”.  Sometimes, it recovered all of it; other times, barely any.  I used to have this problem frequently with a computer that ended up having a hardware issue, so I used to blame that.  Then, I got a second-hand laptop to try, and boy, still a lot of crashes.  Finally, I get this, a barely-used HP beaut with big screen and presumably better system.  Well, guess what?

SO!  I figured I couldn’t be the only one, and did some more digging online….. my spec-i-al-i-ty!  (Wow, I just realized that was quoting one of my favourite childhood movies, The Neverending Story….. I heard the professor’s voice saying that, so I tried to spell it out accordingly.  haha I am a true geek.)

Sure enough, I found this site.  Again, thanks to Microsoft Answers, someone suggested getting this HotFix.  So far, so good.  I’ll report back if it’s junk, though  😉

One thing to note: if you do download this fix, make sure that your problem is exactly what is written in their description.  I don’t want you installing unnecessary patches for problems you may not have….. and also, be sure to follow their instructions (including backing up stuff).  I don’t want people to say I didn’t warn them in case it doesn’t work quite right.  I also did a System Restore point, though I don’t know what the difference is between that and a Backup, to be honest.  I just didn’t have any DVDs/time to run the backup, so I thought that was an okay alternative!  haha hey I never said I knew everything about computers….. heck, why do you think I’m Ms. Compy Fix-It?!

Anyways.  One other thing to note: for me, when I installed the fix, I got scared because when I went to my folder to retrieve a file I’d been working on, it was in PowerPoint Viewer!  I thought it did something to my program/deleted it or something, but all you need to do is right-click your file and go to “Open with…..” and it should give you a choice to select the Default Program, and your regular PowerPoint program should be there as an option.  Make sure to check the box, “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” to ensure all the rest of your PowerPoint documents open as they normally did.

Happy PowerPointing!