Saving and Reapplying Pivot Chart Formatting

Saving and Reapplying Pivot Chart Formatting

I’m still wrestling with pivot charts, and boy are my metaphorical forearms big! Seriously though, I just recently became aware of the crazy problem of pivot charts losing their formatting. I’ve got a bunch of pivot charts with two x axes and other embellishments, and pretty much any change to the chart or the source pivot can erase all the carefully applied formatting. In this post I’ll outline a couple of ways to decrease, but by no means eliminate, the pain of losing your pivot chart formatting.

The Problem

Here’s an example – a chart with two axes, different chart types and non-standard colors. I’m quite pleased with its looks.

pivot chart

However, if I so much as resize a column in the source pivot… much-less-nice formatting.

pivot chart after pivot column resize

It gets worse. Look at what happens when I add and remove a field:

pivot chart formatting loss

One axis is eliminated without so much as a “by your leave,” the line graphs revert to columns and the colors regress to garish defaults. It’s a mess. Unchecking the field doesn’t undo the changes.

A Partial Solution

When I first encountered this issue my hopes were raised by the presence of a long Jon Acampora post on Jon Peltier’s blog. However the two solutions listed there have a huge drawback: they eliminate the use of pivot charts. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water! In the post’s comments a couple of people think they’ve found ways to make the formatting stick, but these didn’t work for me.

Looking around the web some more, I found two commands that help me as the chart developer. The first is the “Save as Template” command:

save as template command

The dialog saves to Excel’s Templates>Charts folder by default. My practice is to save early and often to the same distinctively named file:

save as template dialog

Then should my changes get wiped out, I avail myself of the “Change Chart Type” command.

change chart type command

Hey presto, there’s my template with the most recent changes. Yay!

change chart type dialog

VBA Automation

I wrote some VBA to automate this stuff. One of the routines below saves every template in the active workbook to the templates folder. It names the template with the worksheet and chart name to avoid errors from having charts with the same names on different sheets. Another routine applies a template to the active chart, assuming it can find one that meets the same SheetName_ChartName convention. Of course even if you rename or move a chart you can figure out what its template was saved at and apply it using the Change Chart Type command.

Here’s the code:

Sub SaveActiveChartTemplate()
Dim chtActive As Excel.Chart

If Not ActiveChart Is Nothing Then
    Set chtActive = ActiveChart
    SaveChartTemplate chtActive
Else
    MsgBox "No Chart Selected"
End If
End Sub

Sub SaveAllChartTemplates()
Dim ws As Excel.Worksheet
Dim chtObject As Excel.ChartObject

For Each ws In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
    For Each chtObject In ws.ChartObjects
        SaveChartTemplate chtObject.Chart
    Next chtObject
Next ws
End Sub

Sub SaveChartTemplate(cht As Excel.Chart)
    'if no path specified then default folder: C:\Users\yourumbuddy\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Charts
   cht.SaveChartTemplate Replace(cht.Parent.Parent.Name & "_" & cht.Parent.Name & ".crtx", " ", "_")
End Sub

Sub ApplySavedTemplateToActiveChart()
Dim chtActive As Excel.Chart

If Not ActiveChart Is Nothing Then
    Set chtActive = ActiveChart
    chtActive.ApplyChartTemplate Replace(chtActive.Parent.Parent.Name & "_" & chtActive.Parent.Name & ".crtx", " ", "_")
Else
    MsgBox "No Chart Selected"
End If
End Sub

Does this work for End Users?
Only the very motivated and patient ones, I’d say. If needed though, I think you could attach code like the above to events and maybe create something that would help them retain formatting as they pivot the charts.

Pivot Table Pivot Chart Navigator

Pivot Table Pivot Chart Navigator

This post is about navigating between pivot tables and pivot charts. The sample workbook contains a Pivot Table and Pivot Chart Navigator userform that lists the workbook’s pivot tables and takes you to them or their associated charts. The workbook also adds buttons to the chart and pivot table right-click menus. These buttons take you to the associated pivot chart or table. I used Ribbon XML for this last part since later versions of Excel don’t allow modification of the chart context menus with VBA. The downloadable workbook can be easily converted to an addin.

pivot chart context menu

I used to eschew pivot charts as far too clunky. Recently though I was given a project that contained many pivot charts. It seemed that, unless I’d just gotten much less picky (not likely), pivot charts work much better than I remembered. This impression was confirmed in a Jon Peltier post, so I know it’s true.

Using XML to Add to Right-Click Menus

As mentioned above, I’ve added a “Go to Source Pivot” button at the bottom of the chart context menu. I’d never used Ribbon XML to make a right-click menu before. The XML part is straightforward.

To create the button I used the Custom UI Editor and added a ContextMenu section to the XML. I also used the Microsoft’s NameX addin to figure out the name that refers to the chart context menu (ContextMenuChartArea) The XML for the chart and pivot table context menus is below. All of this, including links to the Custom UI Editor and the NameX addin, is covered very nicely in this MSDN post.

Since I’m already forced to use XML to modify the chart context menu, I used it for the pivot table context menu too, even though it can still be modified with VBA:

<contextMenus>
    <contextMenu idMso="ContextMenuChartArea">
     <button id="cmdGoToSourcePivot" label="Go To Source Pivot"
        onAction="cmdGoToSourcePivot_onAction"
        getVisible = "cmdGoToSourcePivot_GetVisible"/>
    </contextMenu>
    <contextMenu idMso="ContextMenuPivotTable">
     <button id="cmdGoToPivotChart" label="Go To Pivot Chart"
        onAction="cmdGoToPivotChart_onAction" />
    </contextMenu>
</contextMenus>

VBA to Go To Source Pivot
The code to go to the source pivot is similar to that in my Finding a Pivot Chart’s Pivot Table post. It looks at the charts PivotLayout property, which only exists if a chart is based on a pivot table. I use this same property in the RibbonInvalidate method to only show the “Go To Pivot Table” button when the chart is a pivot chart. That’s one thing I like about programming the ribbon: the code to show or hide tabs, buttons and other controls is generally simpler than it is when using VBA.

VBA to Go To Pivot Chart
The code to go to a pivot table’s chart loops through all chart sheets and charts on worksheets looking for one whose source range is the pivot table’s range:

Function GetPivotChart(pvt As Excel.PivotTable) As Excel.Chart
Dim wbWithPivots As Excel.Workbook
Dim ws As Excel.Worksheet
Dim chtObject As Excel.ChartObject
Dim cht As Excel.Chart

Set wbWithPivots = pvt.Parent.Parent
For Each cht In wbWithPivots.Charts
    If Not cht.PivotLayout Is Nothing Then
        If cht.PivotLayout.PivotTable.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) = pvt.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) Then
            Set GetPivotChart = cht
            Exit Function
        End If
    End If
Next cht
For Each ws In wbWithPivots.Worksheets
    For Each chtObject In ws.ChartObjects
        Set cht = chtObject.Chart
        If Not cht.PivotLayout Is Nothing Then
            If cht.PivotLayout.PivotTable.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) = pvt.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) Then
                Set GetPivotChart = cht
                Exit Function
            End If
        End If
    Next chtObject
Next ws
End Function

PivotNavigator Form
The other element of the sample workbook is a simple-yet-powerful form that navigates through a workbook’s pivot tables and pivot charts.

pivot navigator form

The form opens up with a list of all the pivot tables in the active workbook. Selecting an item in the form list takes you to the selected pivot. Use the Ctrl key with the left and right arrows to toggle between a pivot and its associated chart.

The form is modeless and responds to selection changes in the workbook, updating the list selection when you click into a different pivot or chart. This functionality uses VBA from my last post, which raises an event every time any chart in a workbook is selected.

Download
The sample workbook has the modified right-click menus, the navigation form and a button in the Developer tab to start the form. There’s even instructions!

Chart SelectionChange Event

Chart SelectionChange Event

I’m working on a pivot chart and pivot table navigator. It lets you click around between pivots and their associated charts. It consists of a small form with a list of the active workbook’s pivot tables. You use this list to navigate to pivots and their charts. When you choose a different pivot or chart in Excel itself I want the selected item in the list to change. I can use the SelectionChange event and the Range.PivotTable property to determine which pivot table has been selected. But SelectionChange doesn’t fire when you click into a chart. After messing about for a bit I’ve come up with a chart SelectionChange event that fires on chart selection and also includes all the stuff in a normal SelectionChange event.

The crux of the solution can be found in this excellent Jon Peltier post describing Chart events. It turns out charts are one of the Excel objects that supports WithEvents:

Excel withevents objects

This lets me create a tiny chart class that I can instantiate for each chart in all open workbooks.

Here’s the clsChart class:

'clsChart

Public WithEvents cht As Excel.Chart
Public cFullSelectionChange As clsFullSelectionChange

Private Sub cht_Activate()
Set cFullSelectionChange.Chart_Activated = cht
End Sub

It’s got the WithEvents declaration that allows us to capture chart events. In this case we’re capturing the event that occurs when a charge is activated. When that happens it pokes the Chart_Activated property in the clsFullSelectionChange class. This is the “parent” class that creates an instance of clsChart for each chart in the workbook.

FullSelectionChange Class That Includes Charts

Here’s the code for the cFullSelectionChange class:

'cFullSelectionChange

Private cChart As clsChart
Public WithEvents app As Excel.Application
Private collCharts As Collection
Public Event PivotSelected(pvt As Excel.PivotTable)
Public Event ChartSelected(cht As Excel.Chart)
Public Event OtherSelected()

Private Sub Class_Initialize()
Dim Wb As Excel.Workbook
Dim ws As Excel.Worksheet
Dim chtObject As Excel.ChartObject
Dim cht As Excel.Chart

Set app = Application
Set collCharts = New Collection
For Each Wb In Application.Workbooks
    For Each cht In Wb.Charts
        Set cChart = New clsChart
        Set cChart.cFullSelectionChange = Me
        Set cChart.cht = cht
        collCharts.Add cChart
    Next cht
    For Each ws In Wb.Worksheets
        For Each chtObject In ws.ChartObjects
            Set cChart = New clsChart
            Set cChart.cFullSelectionChange = Me
            Set cChart.cht = chtObject.Chart
            collCharts.Add cChart
        Next chtObject
    Next ws
Next Wb
End Sub

Public Property Set Chart_Activated(cht As Excel.Chart)
RaiseEvent ChartSelected(cht)
End Property

Private Sub app_SheetSelectionChange(ByVal Sh As Object, ByVal Target As Range)
Dim ActivePivot As Excel.PivotTable

On Error Resume Next
Set ActivePivot = ActiveCell.PivotTable
On Error GoTo 0
If Not ActivePivot Is Nothing Then
    RaiseEvent PivotSelected(ActivePivot)
Else
    RaiseEvent OtherSelected
End If
End Sub

The last sub in the class, app_SheetSelectionChange, is a regular old application-level SheetSelectionChange event. It checks whether the ActiveCell is in a pivot table. Note that I could have used Selection just as easily as Activecell. I included this event in this class so that all the selection logic would be in one place, rather than putting it in the UserForm itself as I’d normally do. You’ll see below that this keeps the UserForm code quite simple.

The second-to-last sub is the Chart_Activated Property that gets poked by the individual chart classes when a chart is activated. It receives the activated chart object from the chart class.

Both these last two subs raise events that are hooked in the UserForm. The events are defined at the top of the module. They simply make the pivot table or chart available in the userform, much like an Sh or Target parameter in a built-in event. If you aren’t familiar with raising custom events the info at the end of Chip Pearson’s event page is very helpful.

The class’s Initialize routine creates instances of the chart class – one for every standalone or embedded chart in all open workbooks. If this isn’t familiar, take a look at the same Chip Pearson page linked above, specifically the Declaring WithEvents Variables section.

The UserForm
Because most of the work gets done in the two classes, the UserForm code is simple and powerful. The form looks like this, with textboxes to show either the selected chart or pivot table, if either:

Userform in action

UserForm Code

Private WithEvents cFullSelectionChange As clsFullSelectionChange

Private Sub UserForm_Initialize()
Set cFullSelectionChange = New clsFullSelectionChange
End Sub

Private Sub cFullSelectionChange_ChartSelected(cht As Chart)
Me.txtActiveChart.Text = cht.Name
Me.txtActivePivot.Text = ""
End Sub

Private Sub cFullSelectionChange_PivotSelected(pvt As PivotTable)
Me.txtActivePivot.Text = pvt.Name
Me.txtActiveChart.Text = ""
End Sub

Private Sub cFullSelectionChange_OtherSelected()
Me.txtActivePivot.Text = ""
Me.txtActiveChart.Text = ""
End Sub

The top of the UserForm module has the WithEvents declaration of the cFullSelectionChange class. It’s declared WithEvents because the class raises the pivot and chart activation events that we want to capture in this form. The form’s Initialize sub simply instantiates the
cFullSelectionChange class. Below that are the three event modules for pivot, chart or other selection.

Summary
The form instantiates the cFullSelectionChange class, which in turn instantiates a cChart class for each chart in every open workbook. Whenever a chart is activated its cChart class passes this action up to the cFullSelectionChange class, which raises the selection event in the UserForm.

Download
Here’s a sample workbook with the form and code. Let me know what you think!

Finding a Pivot Chart’s Pivot Table

Finding a Pivot Chart’s Pivot Table

I don’t work with pivot charts very much, but recently I got the job of modifying a dashboard that uses a mess of them. As part of the modification, I’m deleting some of the charts, which is leaving behind unneeded pivot tables – pivot tables with unhelpful names like “PivotTable17.” In order to work with all this I wrote a quick routine for finding a pivot chart’s pivot table.

Until today I was under the impression you could create a pivot chart without having a pivot table. I thought they were just a different kind of representation of what’s in a pivot cache and that, as is true with pivot tables, you could have several feeding directly off one pivot cache. That’s not true. Every pivot chart requires a separate pivot table.

This meant that when I started deleting some pivot charts from the workbook I wanted to reduce the workbook clutter by also deleting their pivot tables. The trick was to find them. At first I tried clicking the ribbon’s “Change Data Source” button, but that points at the data the pivot table/chart combo is based on, not at the pivot table the chart is based on. I found I could see the pivot table name and the sheet it’s on in the pivot chart’s “Select Data” dialog. But then I was still stuck trying to figure out which pivot was which. What a perfect excuse to write some VBA and poke into some previously unexplored object model crannies!

The code below cycles through each pivot chart in a workbook, selects its pivot table and displays a msgbox with info about the pivot table. (In actual practice I collected all the pivot table data and used that to delete any pivot tables that weren’t in the collection. No hand-deleting if I can help it!)

The Code

Sub GetPivotChartSources()
Dim ws As Excel.Worksheet
Dim chtObject As Excel.ChartObject
Dim cht As Excel.Chart
Dim pvt As Excel.PivotTable

For Each ws In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
    For Each chtObject In ws.ChartObjects
        Set cht = chtObject.Chart
        If Not cht.PivotLayout Is Nothing Then
            Set pvt = cht.PivotLayout.PivotTable
            'activate the sheet the pivot is on
           pvt.Parent.Activate
            pvt.TableRange2.Cells(1).Select
            MsgBox pvt.Name & " is on " & pvt.Parent.Name & " using data from " & pvt.SourceData
        End If
    Next chtObject
Next ws
End Sub

ChartObjects, PivotLayouts and More

The code above cycles through each ChartObject, which is the container for a chart embedded in a worksheet, as opposed to being its own tab. What we’re really interested in is the ChartObject’s chart object (ha!) so I set a variable to that. Then the key is that pivot charts have a PivotLayout* object, which in turn contains the pivot table object. Once you’ve got that you can access all the usual pivot table properties like Name, SourceData and TableRange2, which is the range containing the entire pivot table including the page filters.

After getting rid of the unneeded pivot tables I went back and ran very similar code to rename them to something more meaningful. First I renamed the charts from “Chart 17”, etc., to something like “chtRegionalRetentionRate” and then substituted this line into the heart of the code above:

pvt.Name = Replace(chtObject.Name, "cht", "pvt")

When I looked around the web for code to do this kind of stuff I didn’t find anything, and had to discover the crucial PivotLayout object on my own. So, as we used to say in the newsgroups, “hth”.

MSDN Errata?
* It seems to me that this MSDN PivotLayout page is wrong, and that it treats the PivotLayout object like the PivotLayout.PivotTable object.