The default line colours in Excel 2013 charts have poor contrast and are not easily distinguishable. I would like to use the same chart colours, fonts, borders, symbols etc. as was in Excel 2003. How can I get the Excel 2003 chart themes and defaults into Excel 2013 (without a lot of work and learning on my part - am a retired engineer and not very computer literate).


The Chart Tools ► Design ► Type ► Save as Template command found in Excel 2007/2010 has been removed from the ribbon and allocated to the right-click menu available when your chart (not a chart element) is selected. Likewise, the Set as Default Chart command from the Change Chart Type dialog has been replaced with a Recommended Charts tab on 2013's Insert Chart or Change Chart Type dialog.

Create (or reopen) a chart with your desired formatting. Right-click the body of the chart and choose Save as Template... to make a template copy in your %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Templates\Charts folder. The new chart template will be available for future Insert ► Chart commands.

  • Thank you. What I really want to do is down load a theme or templates that has all the Excel 2003 default colours and charts (borders. fonts) etc. I really want to be able to use the same colours and stypes as was in Excel 2003. The new charts are poor for presenting clear charts. Can I download the Excel 2003 theme or defaults? – Peter Lang Nov 29 '14 at 10:29
  • This is the first time I've ever seen anyone who wanted the scary old 2003 formatting back. The 2007 and 2010 formats were so-so, better than the gaudy Windows 16 colors, but still a bit muddy. The 2013 defaults are pretty good, with decent colors for the plotted data and finally gray axis and gridlines that don't overpower the data. But short answer: there are no themes I've ever heard of that mimic Excel 2003 chart colors. – Jon Peltier Nov 30 '14 at 19:45
  • @PeterLang - I neglected to address my comment to you, so you probably did not see it. – Jon Peltier Dec 1 '14 at 21:19
  • Jon Peltier,thanks for telling me about your personal preferences. But that's no help at all. You might want pretty and gray. I'm an engineer and I just want clarity. The colours on the 2013 Excel chart are indistinct and very difficult to distinguish one line form an other on a multi-series chart. There are many other issues with them and the time it takes to format each chart is big step back for those who just want to present clear distinct message, as distinct from pretty artwork. – Peter Lang Dec 2 '14 at 22:45
  • @PeterLang as an engineer myself I don't see why you don't just make a generic chart template and then just use it as and when you need it... – Solar Mike Sep 30 '17 at 8:15

Excel 2016: The approach is similar. 1) select the chart that you have modified to make you happy. 2) right mouse-click on the chart to get a menu. 3) select "Save as Template..." and give the template a name in the pop-up.

4) Make a new chart. 5) select the chart and right mouse-click 6) select "change chart type ..." 7) there is a folder "templates" Your template is saved here. Click on it and you are done.

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