How to change OpenOffice chart colors

Post image for How to change OpenOffice chart colors

by bledsoe on October 23, 2009

As a frequent user of the OpenOffice apps, including the Calc spreadsheet (oo's version of Excel), I occasionally need to create a chart from some of my data.  Typically, I'll create a pie or bar chart in Calc, then copy and paste it into Writer (oo's version of MS Word).  Recently I created two pie charts from similar data and I needed the colors of the pie slices to be the same for corresponding categories in each chart; in other words, I had a Category A in Chart 1 and a Category A in Chart 2, and I wanted the pie chart slices for Category A to be the same color of blue in both Chart 1 and Chart 2.

I didn't figure this would be a huge problem, especially since when I created the charts in Calc, it gave the corresponding categories the same colors without me having to do anything.  Unfortunately, when I copied and pasted the charts into Writer, Writer changed the colors!  Wha?

I figured I would just manually set the proper color for each pie slice, but it's not at all obvious how to do this simple task, and the oo help documentation isn't that helpful.  Here's what you do:

  1. After pasting your chart into Writer, single-click the chart to make sure it's selected.
  2. Double-click the chart to put it in "Editing mode."
  3. Single-click on the pie; this will make a series of small green squares appear on your pie slices, one green square per pie slice.
  4. Single click on one of the pie slices; this will select that one pie slice.
  5. Double-click on this same "selected" pie slice; this will bring up the "Data Point" dialog box.  Select the "Area" tab and select "Color" in the dropdown box.
  6. Select the color you want the pie slice to have and click Save.

Repeat steps 4-6 for each pie slice and you're done.  The key is to single-click and/or double-click at the right time and place; if you don't, you won't be able to get to the correct "Data Point" dialog box.

I'm not sure why Writer decided to spontaneously change my chart colors this way, but if any oo programmers happen to be reading, this might be a good thing to fix in the next release.

Previous post:

Next post: