HomeTechnologyNewsHow to Add and Customize Data Labels in Microsoft Excel Charts

How to Add and Customize Data Labels in Microsoft Excel Charts

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While adding a chart in Excel using the Add Chart Element menu, point to Data Labels and select the desired labels to add. The “More Data Label Options” tool will allow you to further customize the labels. To customize data labels for an existing chart, use the Chart Elements button.

When you create an Excel chart that contains a ton of data, it can be hard to figure it all out at a glance. A useful way to flag information is to use data labels for a series of data points. Here we will show you how to use data labels.

You can choose which series or points to use data labels for and select their positions. For example, data labels can become part of the bars in a column chart or display as callouts in a pie chart.

Add data labels to an Excel chart

A great example of a chart that can benefit from data labels is a pie chart. Although you can use a legend for the pie slices, you can save space and create an attractive graph by using data labels. We will use a pie chart for our example.

RELATED: How to make a pie chart in Microsoft Excel

Select your pie chart and go to the Chart Design tab that is displayed. Open the Add Chart Element dropdown menu in the Chart Layouts section of the ribbon.

Add chart elements on the Chart Design tab

Move the cursor to Data Labels and choose a position from the popup menu. For a pie chart, you’ll see options like center, inner edge, outer edge, best fit, and data callout. The available positions may differ depending on the type of chart you use.

Data Label Positions

If you’re using Excel on Windows, you have an additional way to include data labels in your chart. Select the chart, and then click the Chart Elements (+) button in the upper right or left corner.

Check the box for Data Labels and use the arrow to the right to choose their positions from the popup menu.

Data Label Positions in Windows

Once you see your data labels on the chart, you can experiment with different positions to get the look you want.

Adjust data label details

After adding your data labels, you can choose which details to include, such as a category name, a value or percentage, or data from specific cells.

RELATED: How to use cell values ​​for Excel chart labels

Select the chart and return to the Add Chart Element dropdown menu on the Chart Design tab. Move the cursor to Data Labels and choose “More Data Label Options”.

More label options in the Add Chart Elements menu

When the Data Label Formatting sidebar opens, confirm that you are on the Label Options tab. You can then expand the Label Options section below and check the details you want to display.

You can also include guidelines, add a legend key, and choose a separator type.

Label Options in the Data Label Formatting Sidebar

Customize data labels

Along with the details you want to include in your data labels, you can change their appearance in the Format Data Labels sidebar.

At the top of the sidebar, use the different tabs to make your changes. Note that the options vary depending on the type of data label. For example, you can change the fill color and adjust the transparency of the data callouts. Other customization options include:

  • fill line: Add a fill color or border and change the transparency.
  • effects: Create a shadow, glow, or 3D effect.
  • size and properties: Adjust the width and height, change the vertical alignment or direction of the text, and wrap the text.

Format Data Labels appearance options in the sidebar

Once you add your data labels, you’ll be able to adjust other parts of your chart. For example, you might want to remove the legend or change the position of the chart title.

Pie chart with data labels in Excel

If you want to remove the data labels later, simply go back to Chart Design > Add Chart Elements and choose “None” for Data Labels.

With data labels, you can give chart readers a quick and easy way to read parts of your chart at a glance. For more help with charts in Excel, see how to create a chart template or how to rename a data series.


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