Tag Archives: charts

Charts not rendering correctly when viewed in non-Excel applications


An ExcelWriter-generated file with charts displays correctly when opened in Excel.  When the same file is opened in an application that does not have the full Excel functionality, such as Outlook preview or in a mobile application, the charts are missing data or have the wrong data.

When a workbook is opened in Excel, all of the cell values are updated based on the current state of the file. Excel caches these most recent cell values and writes them out to the file. Many mobile apps or applications with a “preview” functionality where the file is locked from being updated, do not have the ability to recalculate the cell values and rely on those cached values to render the charts. When the cached values are not available, the charts may be rendered incorrectly so they may appear to have no data, wrong data, or may not appear in the file at all.

Below are common scenarios where the workbook cannot be fully updated:

  • Mobile applications
  • Applications with “preview,” such as Outlook’s attachment preview
  • Excel’s protected mode, which is activated when files are downloaded from the internet and opened in Excel before saving to disk

Starting in v8.3, ExcelWriter writes out the cached cell values to integrate better with applications that don’t have the ability to update the workbook. However, there are still some limitations that prevent charts from being rendered correctly. This article describes the limitations and expected behavior of rendering charts in files that were generated in ExcelWriter v8.3 or later. 

If you are experiencing issues

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iOS Applications

Charts are missing – Certain charts are not supported by iOS, regardless of whether they are in files generated by Excel, ExcelWriter, or some other application. An example of this is the bubble chart. These charts may not be rendered at all, depending on the application. More information is available in this article: Charts in ExcelWriter files are missing when viewed on iOS devices.

Charts are visible, but incorrect – If the chart is visible, but the data appears to be incorrect, then the chart may have data that contains formulas, formatted numbers, or it may be a PivotChart (see below for more info).

Chart data contains formulas

As of v9.0, ExcelWriter has the ability to calculate formulas with the Workbook.CalculateFormulas method. However, for the initial release, only a limited number of formulas are supported.

If ExcelWriter is unable to evaluate formulas (i.e. the formulas you are using are not yet supported or you are using a version prior to v9.0), or Workbook.CalculateFormulas is not called, then the most up-to-date values will not be available. Instead, if there is a formula in the cell, we will write a “0” to the cached chart field. Despite not being an accurate value, having the cached value reduces the risk of the chart not being rendered or the the application from crashing due to the missing data.

Chart data contains values with number formats applied

ExcelWriter does not have the ability to render numbers based on number formats (e.g. percentage). In the case that a number has a number format applied, the underlying value will be used for the cached field. For example, 6.5% has actual numerical value 0.065, which is the value that ExcelWriter will write to the cached field. This also applies to dates, which are stored as serial numbers in the file and then Excel uses the number format to render the formatted date. For more information about dates in Excel, please see this article: http://www.cpearson.com/excel/datetime.htm.


PivotCharts have a different structure than regular charts and depend on the entire PivotCache being refreshed to be updated.  Updating the PivotCache is an operation that must be performed in Excel or an application that has the ability to do so. ExcelWriter does not have the ability to refresh the PivotCache and update the PivotCharts. The file will need to be opened in Excel (not in protected mode) in order to update the PivotCache.

How to make the pie chart display larger


There is a known issue with pie charts that are created with ExcelApplication in the binary XLS file format. Pie chart display was improved in ExcelWriter 8 for the XLSX file format as part of the ExcelApplication OOXML implementation.

This post addresses how to improve the size of a pie chart in an XLS file.


There are two approaches for increasing the size of a pie chart:

Approach Before After
Increase the size of the chart while maintaining the proportions between the pie graphic and the chart frame. This requires making the chart (as a whole) larger.
Increase the size of the chart in relation to the chart frame. This requires making adjustments to the chart’s plot area.

Option 1: Increase the pie chart and maintain current proportions

If the pie chart graphic displays too small, increase the chart’s area by providing more room for it in Add method of the Charts object. The size of the pie graphic in the chart is directly related to the amount of space provided for the chart.

To provide more area for the chart, after adding the chart with the AddChart method:

  1. Make the chart wider by increasing the Chart.Width property
  2. Make the chart taller by increasing the Chart.Height property

Option 2: Change the proportion of the chart size in relation to the chart frame

Use the PlotArea‘s Height and Width properties. The values you can provide range from 1 to 4000. 4000 makes the chart take up the maximum area possible. In many cases, this value will be too large. For the area provided in the above code, 2500 is a good value for the PlotArea Width and height.

ExcelWriter leaves empty space for a chart title


When using ExcelApplication to create or modify charts, there appears to be an empty space for the chart title even though one wasn’t specified or the chart title is set to an empty string.


ExcelWriter will leave space for a chart title if any of the Chart.Title properties are set; this includes setting Chart.Title.Text to an empty string. This is because ExcelWriter assumes that if Chart.Title properties are being set, then there will be a chart title.

This mimics Excel’s behavior, as chart title properties cannot be accessed or modified unless there is a non-empty chart title.

To avoid having extra space for the title, only set Chart.Title properties when Chart.Title.Text is set to a non-empty value (i.e. you intend for the chart to have a title).

Trendline Label doesn’t show Equation/R-squared value


It is possible, in Excel, to add a label to a trendline of a chart that shows the Equation or the R-squared value of the trendline like in the image below:

Trendlines can also be created as objects in ExcelApplication through the Series of a Chart. The Trendline object has the properties to ShowEquation and ShowRSquaredValue.

Setting these properties to true does not seem to have any effect and the label is not shown. However, if you open, with ExcelApplication, an existing workbook which already has a Trendline label these properties will work properly. From that point on you can programmatically change the label as you like using the properties.


This issue has been resolved for charts in the OOXML file format (XLSX, XLSM) as part of implementing OOXML support for ExcelApplication in OfficeWriter v8.0.

This issue persists for the BIFF (XLS) file format. It can be worked around in the following manner:

1. Create a new chart in Excel and add a trendline.

2. Add the Equation or the R-Square: Select the trendline then right-click the trendline or choose Format>Selected Trendline from the menu.

3. Now simply open the workbook with ExcelApplication.Open, retrieve the trendline and program it any way you like (Including changing the trendline regression type or value or show/hide the Equation or R-Squared value):

Trendline trend = oSeries.Trendlines[0]; //now this will work trend.ShowEquation = true;