Add data labels to a chart

To quickly identify the data series (data series: Related data points that are plotted in a chart. Each data series in a chart has a unique color or pattern and is represented in the chart legend. You can plot one or more data series in a chart. Pie charts have only one data series.), you can add data labels (data label: A label that provides additional information about a data marker, which represents a single data point or value that originates from a worksheet cell.) to the data markers (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a worksheet cell. Related data markers in a chart constitute a data series.) in a chart. To update data labels with changes that you make to corresponding data in the worksheet, or to display the text or numbers in worksheet cells in the data labels, you can link data labels to worksheet cells. If you no longer need data labels, you can remove them.

When you add data labels, you may also want to adjust their position in the chart so that they are easier to read.

What do you want to do?

Add data labels to a chart

Change the position of data labels in a chart

Remove data labels from a chart

Add data labels to a chart

  1. On a chart sheet (chart sheet: A sheet in a workbook that contains only a chart. A chart sheet is beneficial when you want to view a chart or a PivotChart report separately from worksheet data or a PivotTable report.) or in an embedded chart (embedded chart: A chart that is placed on a worksheet rather than on a separate chart sheet. Embedded charts are beneficial when you want to view or print a chart or a PivotChart report with its source data or other information in a worksheet.), do one of the following:
    • To add a data label to all data points, click the data series that you want to label.
    • To add a data label to a single data point, click the data series that contains the data marker you want to label, and then click the data marker for the data point that you want to label.
  2. On the Format menu, click Selected Data Series or Selected Data Point.
  3. On the Data Labels tab, select the options that you want.

 Tip   You can quickly label all data points in a selected chart. On the Chart menu, click Chart Options, and then select the options that you want on the Data Labels tab.

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Change the position of data labels in a chart

You can change the position of a single data label by dragging it. Use the following procedure to place all labels for a data series in a standard position on their data markers in 2-D bar, column, and line charts; 2-D and 3-D pie charts; and xy (scatter) and bubble charts.

  1. On a chart sheet (chart sheet: A sheet in a workbook that contains only a chart. A chart sheet is beneficial when you want to view a chart or a PivotChart report separately from worksheet data or a PivotTable report.) or in an embedded chart (embedded chart: A chart that is placed on a worksheet rather than on a separate chart sheet. Embedded charts are beneficial when you want to view or print a chart or a PivotChart report with its source data or other information in a worksheet.), click anywhere in the chart outside of the data labels, and then click a data label to select all data labels.

 Tip   If you want to reposition a specific data label, click again on that data label.

  1. On the Format menu, click Selected Data Labels.
  2. On the Alignment tab, click the location that you want in the Label position box.
  3. Under Text Alignment, select the options that you want in the Horizontal and Vertical boxes.
  4. To rotate the selected data labels, click the position that you want in the Orientation box, or specify the angle that you want in the Degrees box.
  5. To change the direction of the text, under Right-to-left, click the direction that you want in the Text direction box.

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Remove data labels from a chart

Click the data label that you want to delete, and then press DELETE.

Or you can right-click the data label, and then click Clear.

 Tip   You can also remove data labels immediately after you add them by clicking Undo on the Edit menu, or by pressing CTRL+Z.

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Applies to:
Excel 2003