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Microsoft KB Archive/100980

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Excel: Chart in Word Loses Color when Updated

Last reviewed: September 12, 1996
Article ID: Q100980

The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Excel for Windows, versions 4.0, 4.0a
  • Microsoft Word for Windows, versions 2.0, 2.0a, 2.0b, 2.0c


When you double-click a Microsoft Excel chart that is linked as a picture in a Microsoft Word document, the linked chart is opened or activated in Microsoft Excel. If you then update the chart in Microsoft Excel, when you return to Microsoft Word, the chart may have lost its color, and it will be displayed in black and white.

This will not occur in a second instance of Microsoft Excel nor will it occur with linked cell objects.


When Microsoft Excel updates the link, it sends information about the chart's colors based on how the chart will appear when you print it. (This process is similar to the one that occurs when you choose Copy Picture from the Edit menu and select the As Shown When Printed option for the appearance.) When you choose Copy from the Edit menu, and then, in Microsoft Word, choose Paste from the Edit menu or choose Paste Special and select the Picture option, the chart will be printed in black and white if your default printer is not a color printer.

However, when the chart is pasted as a picture, it will appear in color regardless of the method you used to copy it. When you double-click it to update it, Microsoft Excel updates the colors as they would appear when printed. The exception to this is when you are using custom colors for your chart data series. In this case, Microsoft Excel sends the actual color index to the printer driver and allows the driver to map the color to an appropriate gray scale. Since the linked chart is updated based on the information that Microsoft Excel sends to the printer driver, the actual chart colors appear.

When you use Microsoft Excel's automatic colors, Microsoft Excel maps these colors to gray scale before sending information to the printer driver; as a result, these colors are converted to gray scale.


To work around this problem, use any one of the following workarounds:

  • Rather than double-clicking the chart to update it, update it directly in Microsoft Excel first. Then open the Microsoft Word document containing the linked chart. When you are prompted to automatically link the document to other applications, choose Yes.


- Select each of your data series sequentially and choose Patterns

   from the Format menu. Under Area, select the Custom option and
   choose OK.


Install a color printer driver and set this driver as your default driver (do this in the Printers section of Windows Control Panel) before you double-click the chart to update it. -or- Link your chart object as a bitmap. The graphic quality of your chart may not be as high as it is when you paste your chart as a picture object, but the chart will not change to black and white when you double-click it and update it in Microsoft Excel.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in the versions of Microsoft Excel listed above. This problem was corrected in version 5.0 of Microsoft Excel for Windows.


This problem also occurs in Microsoft Write and other object linking and embedding (OLE) client applications in which you can link objects as pictures.

KBCategory: kbprb


Additional reference words: 4.00 4.00a 2.00 2.00a 2.00b 2.00c lose

Last reviewed: September 12, 1996
© 1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of Use.