How to Create a Chart in Excel Using Shortcut Keys

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When you need a chart in a hurry or want to check on certain trends in your data, create a chart in Excel with a single keystroke. Excel has a default chart that is activated using keyboard shortcut keys. If you find the function useful, customize different templates to better suit your needs in the future.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007; Excel for Mac, and Excel for Office 365.

Add a Quick Chart to Your Worksheet or Workbook

The quick chart keyboard shortcut adds a commonly used chart to the current worksheet or to a separate worksheet in the current workbook.

Screenshot of Excel showing a chart.

Here's how to add a new chart to a new worksheet in and existing workbook:

  1. Select the data you want to use in the chart.

  2. Press the F11 key on your keyboard.

A chart is created and added to a separate worksheet in the current workbook. If the default settings haven't been changed, a column chart is created by pressing F11.

Mac users may need to hold down the Fn key while pressing any function keys, such as F1. Additionally, some functions such as F11 may not work unless macOS hotkeys, such as expose, are first disabled.

As well as adding a copy of the chart to a separate worksheet, that same chart can be added to the current worksheet, the worksheet where the chart data is located, by using different keyboard shortcut keys.

Here's how to add a chart to the same worksheet:

  1. Select the data you want to use in the chart.

  2. Press and hold the Alt key. If you are on a Mac, substitute the Alt key for the Option key.

  3. Press the F1 key.

Now, a new chart is created and added to your current worksheet, alongside your data.

Change the Chart Type

If pressing F11 or Alt+F1 produces a chart that isn't to your liking, change the chart with the help of built-in templates.

Here's how to change the chart type:

  1. Select the chart.

  2. Select the Chart Tools Design tab.

  3. Select Change Chart Type.

  4. Select the type of chart you would like to use.

    A screenshot showing how to change the chart type in Excel
  5. Select the style of the chart.

  6. Select OK when you're done.

Create and Save Chart Templates

If you want use a predefined chart style, create a chart that uses the chart style, colors, scale settings, and font type you want. Then, save the chart as a template.

Follow these steps to save your new chart template:

  1. Right-click on the chart to open a context menu.

  2. Choose Save as Template to open the ​Save Chart Template dialog box.

  3. Enter a name for the template in the File name text box.

    A screenshot showing how to save a chart as a template in Excel
  4. Select Save to save the template and close the dialog box.

The chart template file is saved as a .crtx file in the C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Charts folder.

Delete a Chart Template

If you don't need a chart template that you created, delete it to remove it from your list of templates in Excel.

To delete a chart template:

  1. Select the Chart Tools Design tab.

  2. Select Change Chart Type to open the Change Chart Type dialog box.

  3. Select Templates to see a list of your chart templates.

    A screenshot showing how to delete a chart template in Excel
  4. Select Mange Templates to open the file manager showing the saved chart templates.

  5. Right-click on the chart template you want to delete and select Delete.