Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Adding Data Labels to Your Chart.

Adding Data Labels to Your Chart

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 30, 2015)

Data labels are used to indicate what the main part of the chart represents. Depending on the type of chart you are creating, data labels can mean quite a bit. For instance, if you are formatting a pie chart, the data can be more difficult to understand if you don't include data labels.

To add data labels, follow these steps:

  1. Activate the chart by clicking on it, if necessary.
  2. Choose Chart Options from the Chart menu. Excel displays the Chart Options dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Data Labels tab is selected. (See Figure 1.) The left side of the dialog box shows the different types of data labels you can choose. (The available types will vary, depending on the type of chart you are using.)
  4. Figure 1. The Data Labels tab of the Chart Options dialog box.

  5. There are five different basic types of data labels from which you can choose. Each of them represents a different combination of using the data value, a percentage, or a label as the actual data label. Select the option that best reflects what you want to do. As you make choices, notice that the preview chart is updated according to your selections.
  6. Click on OK. Your chart is updated as you directed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2840) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Adding Data Labels to Your Chart.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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