HomeTechnologyNewsHow to use a data table in a Microsoft Excel chart

How to use a data table in a Microsoft Excel chart

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Select the “Chart Design” tab on the ribbon, click the “Add Chart Element” button, point to “Data Table” and select the type of table you want to add. Select the “More Data Table Options” menu item to further customize your data table.

When you create a chart in Excel, you may want to include the source data. By adding a data table, which requires just a few steps, you can provide additional details or better explain your image.

A data table is a grid of the data you use to create your chart that sits below the chart itself. Once you add a data table, you can format and customize it to your liking.

Add a data table to a chart in Excel

You can add a data table to the most common types of charts in Excel, including bar, column, and line charts. Create your chart as you normally would. When you’re ready to add the data table, select the chart.

RELATED: How to make a bar chart in Microsoft Excel

Go to the Chart Layout tab that is displayed and click 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 Table, and then choose the type of table you want to add from the pop-up menu. You can choose a table with or without legend keys.

Data Table Types in the Add Chart Element Menu

In Excel on Windows, you have an additional way to insert a table of data. Click the Chart Elements (+) button in the upper right or left corner of the chart. Check the box for Data Table and select the arrow to choose the type of table you want to use.

Data Table Types in the Chart Element menu in Windows

Once you add your table, you may need to resize your chart by dragging a corner or border. This helps you give the chart and data table more space, making them easier to read.

Resized chart and data table in Excel

If you decide to delete the table later, go back to Chart Design > Add Chart Element and choose “None” from the Data Table pop-up menu.

Customize a data table in Excel

By default, a data table appears in a bordered grid with a white background. But you can customize the look of the table if you want.

RELATED: How to create and customize a waterfall chart in Microsoft Excel

Select the chart, click the Add Chart Element dropdown menu, and move to Data Table. Select “More Data Table Options” from the popup menu.

More data table options in the Add Chart Element menu

When the Data Table Formatting sidebar opens, confirm that you are on the Table Options tab. Then expand the Data Table Options section to see the borders.

You can check or uncheck the boxes to use horizontal, vertical, or outline borders. If you change your mind about legend keys, select or clear the Show Legend Keys check box.

Border Options in the Data Table Format sidebar

To change the fill and border settings, select the Fill & Stroke tab. You can choose a fill type and choose a color from the palette.

You can do the same for the borders directly below the data table, plus you can change the border width, linetype, transparency, and other settings.

If you want to enhance your data table with a shadow, glow, soft border, or 3D effect, go to the Effects tab. Here, you can experiment with different looks for your data table.

Line and effects in the format data table sidebar

You can also change the font that is displayed within the table. At the top of the sidebar, choose Text Options. Use the Text Fill & Stroke and Text Effects tabs to adjust the text fill style, font color, transparency, and effects.

Sidebar Text Options Data Table Formatting

Change the data in the table

When you change the source data that appears on the chart, your chart will update automatically. The same goes for the data table inside the chart.

Column chart with a data table in Excel

When you want to display the exact details of your Excel chart, consider using a data table. For additional help with charts in Excel, see how to apply a chart filter or how to find the type of chart that works best for your data.


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