Creating and Using Custom Chart Types

Word allows you to create custom chart types of your own?in essence, reusable chart Templates that are at your fingertips whenever you need them. Custom Chart Types allow you to create sophisticated chart designs and use them consistently in all your business diagrams. In the following sections, you'll learn how to create them, how to use them, and how they can fit into your corporate graphic design strategies.

Creating a Custom Chart Type

Earlier, you learned that you can use the Chart Type dialog box to choose from two sets of built-in charts: standard types and custom types. Custom chart types are similar to templates in Word: They bring together a collection of styles and settings that you can use over and over.

Each custom chart type Word provides is based on a standard chart type. The difference is that they may contain additional formatting and options, such as a legend, gridlines, data labels, a secondary axis, colors, patterns, fills, and placement choices for various chart items not found in the standard chart types.

Now that you've learned how to customize a chart's elements and formatting, you may want to create your own custom chart. To do so, you can start from one of the custom charts Microsoft provides or build your own from scratch.

How to Create a Custom Chart

You create a custom chart by first creating an example. Format a chart as you want it, complete with specific fills, typefaces, chart options, and colors. After you've built your "model," follow these steps to build its settings into a reusable custom chart:

  1. Right-click on the chart and choose Chart Type from the shortcut menu.

  2. When the Chart Type dialog box opens, click the Custom Types tab.

  3. Click the User-Defined radio button in the Select From section.

  4. Click the Add button. The Add Custom Chart Type dialog box opens (see Figure 15.21).

    Figure 15.21. In this dialog box, you can specify a name and description for your Custom Chart Type.


  5. Type the name for this new chart type in the Name text box. If you want, you can also type a brief description in the Description text box. This section could include when the chart was previously used, what it is ideally used for, who created it, and so on.

  6. Click OK on the Add dialog box and then the Chart Type dialog box.

How to Use a Custom Chart You've Created

After you've created a custom chart, here's how to use it:

  1. Insert a chart in your document.

  2. With Microsoft Graph open, choose Chart, Chart Type.

  3. Click the Custom Types tab.

  4. Click the User-Defined button.

  5. In the Chart Type scroll box, select the name of the chart you created. A thumbnail of your chart appears in the preview section. Note that it may not be perfectly representative of how your data will ultimately look.

  6. Click OK. Word reformats your chart based on your custom chart type.

How Custom Chart Types Can Support Your Corporate Design Standards

If you're working in a large office, you may want to standardize on a set of custom chart types that reflect your company's design standards. Word and Graph provide several ways to share custom chart types.

The first method is to have each user open a document that contains the chart you want, select the chart, and store the format as a custom format?using the procedure previously described in "How to Create a Custom Chart."

The alternative is to embed your custom charts in a template you can distribute or place in the workgroup templates folder.

For more information about working with templates, see Chapter 11, "Templates, Wizards, and Add-Ins," p. 355.

In most cases, however, the best alternative is to copy the file GRUSRGAL.GRA, which stores custom charts, to each computer that you want to have access to them. In Word 2003 running on Windows 2000 or Windows XP, this file is typically stored in the C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Graph folder, where Username corresponds to whichever profile is associated with your user logon.

Copying this file to another computer makes its custom charts available to that user.


If you copy your GRUSRGAL.GRA file over a user's existing GRUSRGAL.GRA file, you will delete any custom charts that user has created. Ideally, create and store your custom charts before you install Microsoft Word or Microsoft Graph on your colleagues' computers?in other words, before your colleagues have had time to create their own custom charts.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word