Apply Graph Customization by Copy Paste Format

In Origin, users can use Copy and Paste Format to apply graph customizations such as plot, axis, tick labels, and etc., from one graph to another by using the copy and paste format feature. This is a huge time saving feature so users don’t have to customize each graph manually.

Formats are basically properties of graphing elements inside the graph window. Origin graph is organized in page -> layer (axis) -> plot together with objects in graph such as legend, text, image, rectangle, circle, etc. Depending on where you click, different format can be copied and pasted to.

Paste Format (Advanced)… is provided for user to view what’s being copied, modify or delete some unwanted properties, adjusting the applying scope so user can apply the format to multiple graphs, and eve save the format as a graph theme file for future use. 

This blog will show some examples so user can better understand the feature and its benefits. Please download the project file attached and open it to follow along. 

Copy Plot Formats

Line+Symbol Plot

  1. Go to 1. Line_Symbol folder of the attached project. Graph1 is a customized line+symbol plot. E.g. line and symbol color, symbol shape, no gap between symbols, skip points so every 5th point shows in graph.
  2. Right click on the plot and choose Copy Format.
  3. The plot in Graph2 is the same plot type. Right click on the plot and choose Paste Format to and choose one format e.g. Symbol Size and then Symbol Shape to apply one by one, or choose All to paste all formats. If a plot is selected, it will paste to it.
  4. If no plot is selected, the behavior is a little different. E.g. the plot in Graph3 is same plot type as well. Right click in white area this time, Paste Format To shows an extra level to choose apply to All Line Symbol Plots and All Plot Types that may apply. Choose All Line Symbol Plots: All to paste. 
  5. The plot in Graph4 is line plot. Right click on the plot and choose Paste Format To to paste line formats or when right click in white area, choose Paste Format To: All: All to paste line plot formats. Please note that Paste format can’t change plot type from one to another. 
  6. The plot in Graph5 is scatter plot. Right click on the plot and choose Paste Format To: All: All. It only pastes symbol size. So as you can see, paste between different plot types doesn’t always work. We don’t recommend this. The good thing is we support undo. So you can press Ctrl+Z to undo it.
  7. There are multiple plots in Graph6 and they are grouped. If you double click it to open Plot Details. There is a Group tab that controls plot properties for each member of the group. E.g. the symbol shape, color, etc. are set to increment for each member of the group. We don’t support copy single plot’s format to a group of plots. 
  8.  There are also multiple plots in Graph7, but they are not grouped. You may even notice they are different plot types. You can right click on the bottom line+symbol plot (same plot type) and choose Paste Format to it since they match. Or you can right click in white area in graph and choose Paste Format To: All Line Symbol Plots: All to apply format to the line+symbol plot only. If you choose Paste Format To: All: All,  for line plot, it will apply line format, for symbol plot, only symbol size is pasted, same as what happened on Graph5.


  1. Copy format between different plot types may not always work.
  2. Copy format from single plot to group or vice versa doesn’t work. 
  3. This also works for complicated graph types such as contour, etc. such as copy colormap level and color palette, etc.

Box Chart

Box chart has many variations and styles and it’s tricky to customize it. Or you may get a nice looking box chart graph in Origin made by others. The Copy format feature will help get desired look of box chart quickly.

Please note that all box charts in one layer shares the same format so it’s actually a layer level format.

  1. Go to 2. Box Chart folder in the project.
  2. The graph on the left has been customized such as show data points on notched box, mean point is a solid square, whiskers is 10-90, also each box is filled with different color.
  3. Left click within white area of layer to select the layer. Right click and choose Copy Format: Box/Histogram.
  4. Right click within the right graph and choose Paste Format. All the statistics settings are pasted.
  5. That box color not copied over since it’s belongs to Style instead of Box/Histogram.
  6. Go back to Graph on the left, repeat step3 to copy format but this time choose Copy Format: Color.
  7. Go to Graph on the right and paste format again.
  8. Undo the two paste formats. Instead of copying each format, now let’s copy all format. On left graph, left click within white area of layer to select the layer. Right click and choose Copy Format: All.
  9. With right graph active, choose Edit: Paste Format (Advanced)… or right click and choose Paste Format (Advanced)…
  10. In the dialog, uncheck All under Formats to Apply.
  11. Only check Box/Histogram and Color and click Apply. It will apply stats settings and color together.

Copy Axis Formats

Axis Scale

Please go back to Line_Symbol folder of the project. The left Y axis is from 0-325. Tick Label color is blue. The Axis title font size is bigger. Also there is frame around the axis. We will demonstrate copy scale, tick label and frame below.

  1. Right click Y axis line in Graph1 and choose Copy Format: Scale.
  2. Right click Y axis line in Graph2 and choose Paste Format To and choose Scales or All. The scale will be applied to the selected Y axis. Note: you can also right click bottom x axis line and paste the scale to x axis.
  3. In Graph3, with no axis is selected, right click within graph, Paste Format to: will give options of which axis to apply the format.
  4. Right click within graph and choose Paste Format (Advanced)…. or choose Edit: Paste Format (Advaced)… menu. Set Apply Scope to All Graphs in this Folder and set Apply to as Left Axes to apply the same axis scale to Y axis of all graphs.
  5. To copy both X and Y axis scales, single click within layer to select the layer (layer is defined by XY axes). Right click to choose Copy Format: Scale. Or just right click in white area within Graph window if there is only 1 layer and choose Copy Format: Scale.
  6. Then right click in graph and choose Paste Format to paste both XY axes scales. Or choose Edit: Paste Format (Advanced)… to paste it to all graphs.

Tick Label

You can either choose axis line and choose Copy Format: All to copy all axis format first and later when pasting format, choose to paste tick label formats, or choose tick labels to copy format so only tick label formats are copied and later choose what detailed tick label format to paste.

  1. Method 1: Right click on Y axis line in Graph1 and choose Copy Format: All to which copies all axis formats.
  2. Then right click X axis line or tick label text and choose Paste Format: Tick Labels to paste tick label properties.
  3. Right click in white area within Graph2 so no axis is selected, choose Paste Format To: All Axes: Tick Labels to apply tick label format too both X and Y axis.
  4. Method 2: Right click on the blue tick label text in Graph1 and choose Copy Format to copy tick label format only.
  5. Then right click tick label in Graph3 and choose Paste Format To, it will list only tick label formats to paste. E.g. choose Color. It will only paste color. Then choose Font to paste font size.

Customize more in Paste Format (Advanced) dialog:

  1. Select blue tick label text in Graph1 and choose Copy Format. Then with nothing selected in graph, choose Edit: Paste Format (Advanced)…
  2. Click the Pencil button. It lists all formats that are copied.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the table and click Color: Blue. Modify the color e.g. choose Olive.
  4. Click the Face: Default Arial dropdown list, u can change the font e.g. Times New Roman.
  5. Click Size 20 to change it to 22.
  6. Click Apply Scope to All Graphs in this Folder. Apply to All Axis Tick Labels. It will apply the font and color to tick labels of all graphs in this folder.


  1. Same applies to axis title, etc. One method is to right click axis line to Copy format: All. Then later choose an axis line or a graph and choose Paste Format to: Title Style to paste the title style. User can even choose Title Text to paste the contents. Or right click the axis title to copy only title related format. Then later paste to other axis.
  2. You can always open Edit: Paste Format (Advanced) to check what’s being copied.

Axis Frame

User may have different graphs and don’t want to change plot format. Only want to turn on axis frames in all graphs. It’s a layer level format but when copying layer level format, it also copies the plot format in the layer. This example will show how to use Paste Format (Advanced) dialog to clean up the formats before pasting.

  1. Single click in white area of Graph1 to select the layer. Right click and choose Copy Forma: All Style Formats.
  2. In Graph 7, right click and choose Paste Format (Advanced)
  3. Navigate to Root -> Page -> All Layers -> Display. Click on Show Frame row to select it.
  4. Check Apply Selected Properties Only checkbox at the bottom of the table.
  5. Select Apply Scope to All Graphs in this Folder and apply. To turn on the axis frame to all graphs without modifying the plot styles in each graph.
  6. Click Save As… button and choose Show_Frame_Only to save it as a theme file.
  7. Later with any graph window active, you can choose Preferences: Theme Organizer. On Graph tab. Find this Show_Frame_Only theme and click Apply to turn on frame for other graph(s).


  1. In Apply Formats dialog, you can select multiple properties to apply together.
  2. You can delete unnecessary properties/nodes to make it easier for you to edit and save it as a Theme file for future use.
  3. If the formats are saved as a theme file, later you can choose Preferences: Theme Organizer. Go to Graph tab to find it and apply it to graphs.

Copy Objects Formats

Legend, text labels, images, arrows, rectangle, oval, etc. are all object in graph. You can also use copy and paste format to customize them.


  1. Legend in Graph1 is customized to show no box and align with axis frame.
  2. Right click the text part e.g. Decay 1 in Graph1 and choose Copy Format: All, it will copy both style and dimension.
  3. Right click the legend in Graph 6 and choose Paste Format To: Background to turn off box in the legend.
  4. Right click the legend again and choose Paste Format To: Dimensions to make it align with the axis frame.
  5. If you choose Paste Format To: All, even legend text is changed. This is because Text is also part of format.
  6. Choose Edit: Paste Format (Advanced)… Based on the checkboxes under Formats to Apply, you can tell even Text in legend is copied when copy format all.
  7. Uncheck All and only check Text. Click Pencil button to see the text contents.
  8. So to paste only legend background and dimension, choose Edit: Paste Format (Advanced)… Uncheck All and check only Background and Dimensions instead.

Inserted Image

Copy and paste format is also supported on object in Layout window in Origin.

  1. Go to 3. Image Object folder in project.
  2. The left layout window is customized. Right click the image on it and choose Copy Format: Dimensions. It copies both image upper-left corner position and width and height.
  3. Right click the image on the right layout window and choose Paste Format.
  4. The image is resized and put to same location as left layout, which isn’t what we want. Press Ctrl+Z to undo.
  5. Right click the image and choose Paste Format: Advanced…
  6. Select Top, Left and Height rows. Then click Apply button to paste the width. Since Keep aspect ratio is checked by default for image, it height will auto adjust accordingly.
  7. Note: If u want to paste both size and position, after copying dimensions, directly right click the target image and choose Paste Format.

Note: For image with different aspect ratio, width will be kept while height will be changed.

There is also Save Format as Theme… context menu right below Copy and Paste Format context menus to directly save format as theme for future use.

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