How To Add Descriptive Titles to Chart Legends

When creating a bar chart or indeed most types of charts in Excel, you will usually end up with a simple legend that labels your data without any description. For example if you create a stacked column chart with three color-coded data series you will need a legend to explain the colors. While Excel will automatically put labels on them, such as Sales, Expenses, etc. you may wish to provide additional information.

In order to do this you must first create your chart in the normal way, with a typical legend. Suppose your information reflects increases or decreases of some KPI, such as profits. Assuming your profit figures are in the column A3 to A10, you can set up a formula such as this…  =IF(A10>A3, “up arrow symbol”,”down arrow symbol”) & “Profits by”&TEXT(A10/A1-1,”0%”). You can repeat this process for each of your data series.

You must now add text boxes at the bottom of your chart where your descriptions will be placed. Click on ‘Insert’, followed by Textbox, after selecting the chart. Make sure that you format the text boxes so that they have the same colors as their corresponding data series’ on the chart. Then you can select the first text box, and in the formula bar you can add the formula that you have already set up to provide the correct legend for this data series. This step should then be repeated with the other text boxes.

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