I have an area chart in Excel for Mac 2011 that I'd like to display grid lines in front of. Is there a way to do this? I know I could make the chart semi-transparent and show the grid lines through, but doing that makes the graph a bit hard to read.


Not possible I'm afraid. The grid is in a different layer to the chart but the same layer as the cell data. Transparent background to the chart is the only option or a semi-transparent overlay image (messy).

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    He doesn't mean the cell boundary gridlines, he means the axis tick gridlines. – Jon Peltier Mar 26 '15 at 22:06

You best bet is to make the area series semi-transparent. This helps show the gridlines, and also makes the area fill colors less dark than the defaults (which are generally too dark).

  • I've found setting transparency to 10% and major gridline color to black works well as a good start – Steve Desmond May 19 at 0:13
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    I don't like using solid black gridlines, since that draws attention from the actual data. But transparent areas and bars also work with the default medium gray gridlines. – Jon Peltier May 20 at 3:36

Alternatively (and a bit bulky) you could put an x-y chart on the second axis (I believe by default the 2nd axis displays on top of the primary axis) and connect points with lines to create your own gridlines.

Hard to manage, though.

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    Or error bars, or whatever. A bit bulky, is right. – Jon Peltier May 20 at 3:36

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