Webinar Preview: “Two Charting Shortcuts for Faster PowerPoint Visuals”

By Taylor Croonquist

ad with spaceEveryone knows that working in PowerPoint can take a lot of time…especially formatting.

And the biggest culprit is charts.

Just look at how many formatting adjustments (nothing fancy) you have to make for the various PowerPoint objects:

  • 1 to 3 adjustments for lines
  • 2 to 8 adjustments for shapes
  • 3 to 10 adjustments for tables
  • 1 to 3 adjustments for pictures
  • 15 to 30 adjustments for charts

Did you notice the amount for charts!? That’s 3 to 15 times as many adjustments!

And that doesn’t even include the fun charting stuff like working with both a primary and secondary axis or graphing a phantom series for data labels.

By the way, graphing a phantom series for data labels is the secret for getting “real” totals on top of a stacked column chart (which is not a default charting option).

See the picture below…can you see what I did to get them?

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This will be one of the little tricks – getting a correct total on top of a stacked column chart – that I’ll be covering in the upcoming charting webinar on Wednesday, January 20th at 11 am PT/ 2 pm ET. If you want to learn more charting tricks, sign up for next week’s free webinar.

Anyway, so back to formatting. A couple of shapes can cost you 4 to 16 formatting adjustments.

A couple of graphs (not even the complicated ones) will cost you 30 to 60 formatting adjustments.

And that’s why knowing your PowerPoint shortcuts is so important!

Two Charting Shortcuts Worth Knowing

The two charting shortcuts below will make your life a lot easier when working with and formatting your chart.

Hit play to see them in action or scroll down the page to read more about them.

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CHARTING SHORTCUT #1 Selecting a Chart So You Can Move It

There are two different ways to select a chart in PowerPoint:

  • Selecting the chart as a chart so you can edit it
  • Selecting a chart as an object so you can move it with your arrow keys.

And it’s the second method for selecting a chart that has a secret shortcut that 90% of people don’t know about. Let’s take a look.

Charting Shortcut #1: Ctrl + mouse click

To select a chart as an object that you can move, you need to hold down the CTRL key and then select it with your mouse.

This selects the chart as a normal PowerPoint object that you can then move with your arrow keys.

Notice the different corners of the two charts selected below. The chart on the left is a chart selected as a chart, and the chart on the right is a chart selected as an object.

Normally (as I show you in the video above) if you simply select a chart and use your arrow keys to try and move it, you simply rotate between the different chart elements (title, legend, series 1, series 2, etc.)

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The chart itself doesn’t move.

On the other hand, if you hold the CTRL key down and select your chart, you will notice the corners get little filled-in circles (see picture above) and you can then move the chart with your arrow keys.

Go ahead, give it a shot!

CHARTING SHORTCUT #2: Formatting Anything Faster

The second charting shortcut allows you to get at the formatting options of ANYTHING within your chart MUCH faster.

Charting Shortcut #2: CTRL+1

This is your golden ticket to formatting anything faster within your charts.

Simply select something within your chart (an axis, a series, the title, the gridlines, etc.) and hit CTRL+1 on your keyboard.

Hitting CTRl+1 launches the format options dialog box SPECIFICALLY for that charting element you just selected.

This allows you to immediately make the adjustments you need (removing tick marks, adjusting the vertical axis, etc.) without having to dig through a bunch of file menus and charting options to find them.

This is a huge charting lifesaver, and you can see it in action in the video above.

Learn More During the Charting Webinar on January 20th

So those are two charting shortcuts to get you started with your charts and visuals…

And I’ll be sharing a bunch more in the upcoming webinar. Click the button below to sign up for free and I’ll see you next week.




About our Author:

Taylor-PortraitTaylor Croonquist is the shortcut and productivity guru for Nuts and Bolts Speed Training company, which helps companies build better PowerPoint slides in shorter time frames. Hailing from the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, he came up with the “One Armed Mouse” technique in order to be able to combine these two passions: PowerPoint-ing with a coffee in one hand and a mouse in the other. For more information about the company’s services, visit nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com.  Email Taylor at


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