Edit titles or data labels in a chart

If your chart contains chart titles (ie. the name of the chart) or axis titles (the titles shown on the x, y or z axis of a chart) and data labels (which provide further detail on a particular data point on the chart), you can edit those titles and labels.

You can also edit titles and labels that are independent of your worksheet data, do so directly on the chart and use rich-text formatting to make them look better.

Note that you can edit titles and data labels that are linked to worksheet data in the corresponding worksheet cells. If, for example, you change the title in a cell from "Yearly Revenue" to "Annual Revenue" — that change will automatically appear in the titles and data labels on the chart. You won't, however, be able to use rich-text formatting when you make a change from within a cell.

When you edit a linked title or data label on the chart (instead of within a cell), that title or data label will no longer be linked to the corresponding worksheet cell, and the changes that you make are not displayed in the worksheet itself (although you will see them on the chart). However, you can reestablish links between titles or data labels and worksheet cells.

After you finish editing the text, you can move the data labels to different positions as needed.

Note: To make any of the changes described below, a chart must already have titles or data labels. To learn to add them, see Add or remove titles in a chart and Add or remove data labels in a chart.

What do you want to do?

Edit the contents of a title or data label on the chart

Edit the contents of a title or data label that is linked to data on the worksheet

Reestablish the link between a title or data label and a worksheet cell

Change the position of data labels

Edit the contents of a title or data label on the chart

  1. On a chart, do one of the following:

    • To edit the contents of a title, click the chart or axis title that you want to change.

    • To edit the contents of a data label, click two times on the data label that you want to change.

      The first click selects the data labels for the whole data series, and the second click selects the individual data label.

  2. Click again to place the title or data label in editing mode, drag to select the text that you want to change, type the new text or value.

    To insert a line break, click to place the cursor where you want to break the line, and then press ENTER.

  3. When you are finished editing, click outside of the text box where you have made your text changes.

  4. To format the text in the title or data label box, do the following:

    1. Click in the title box, and then select the text that you want to format.

    2. Right-click inside the text box and then click the formatting options that you want.

      You can also use the formatting buttons on the Ribbon (Home tab, Font group). To format the whole title, you can right-click it, click Format Chart Title, and then select the formatting options that you want.

Note: The size of the title or data label box adjusts to the size of the text. You cannot resize the title or data label box, and the text may become truncated if it does not fit in the maximum size. To accommodate more text, you may want to use a text box instead. For more information, see Add a text box to a chart.

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Edit the contents of a title or data label that is linked to data on the worksheet

  1. In the worksheet, click the cell that contains the title or data label text that you want to change.

  2. Edit the existing contents, or type the new text or value, and then press ENTER.

    The changes you made automatically appear on the chart.

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Reestablish the link between a title or data label and a worksheet cell

Links between titles or data labels and corresponding worksheet cells are broken when you edit their contents in the chart. To automatically update titles or data labels with changes that you make on the worksheet, you must reestablish the link between the titles or data labels and the corresponding worksheet cells. For data labels, you can reestablish a link one data series at a time, or for all data series at the same time.

In PivotChart reports, the following procedures reestablish links between data labels and source data (not worksheet cells).

Reestablish the link for a chart or axis title

  1. On a chart, click the chart or axis title that you want to link to a corresponding worksheet cell.

  2. On the worksheet, click in the formula bar, and then type an equal sign (=).

  3. Select the worksheet cell that contains the data or text that you want to display in your chart.

    You can also type the reference to the worksheet cell in the formula bar. Include an equal sign, the sheet name, followed by an exclamation point; for example, =Sheet1!F2

  4. Press ENTER.

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Reestablish the link for a data label

When you customize the contents of a data label on the chart, it is no longer linked to data on the worksheet. You can reestablish the link by resetting the label text for all labels in a data series, or you can type a reference to the cell that contains the data that you want to link to for each data point at a time.

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Reset label text

  1. On a chart, click one time or two times on the data label that you want to link to a corresponding worksheet cell.

    The first click selects the data labels for the whole data series, and the second click selects the individual data label.

  2. Right-click the data label, and then click Format Data Label or Format Data Labels.

  3. Click Label Options if it's not selected, and then select the Reset Label Text check box.

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Reestablish a link to data on the worksheet

  1. On a chart, click the label that you want to link to a corresponding worksheet cell.

  2. On the worksheet, click in the formula bar, and then type an equal sign (=).

  3. Select the worksheet cell that contains the data or text that you want to display in your chart.

    You can also type the reference to the worksheet cell in the formula bar. Include an equal sign, the sheet name, followed by an exclamation point; for example, =Sheet1!F2

  4. Press ENTER.

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Change the position of data labels

You can change the position of a single data label by dragging it. You can also place data labels in a standard position relative to their data markers. Depending on the chart type, you can choose from a variety of positioning options.

  1. On a chart, do one of the following:

    • To reposition all data labels for an entire data series, click a data label once to select the data series.

    • To reposition a specific data label, click that data label twice to select it.

      This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.

  2. On the Layout tab, in the Labels group, click Data Labels, and then click the option that you want.

    Excel Ribbon Image

    For additional data label options, click More Data Label Options, click Label Options if it's not selected, and then select the options that you want.

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