Legends in excel chart are basically representation of data itself, it is used to avoid any sorts of confusion when the data has the same type of values in all the categories, it is used to differentiate the categories which help user or viewer to understand the data more properly, it is located on the right-hand side of the given excel chart.
Add Legends to Excel Charts
Legends are a small visual representation of the chart’s data series to understand each data series without any sort of confusion. Legends are directly linked to the chart data range and change accordingly. In simple terms, if the data includes many colored visuals, legends show what each visual label means.
If you look at the above image of the graph, the graph represents each year’s region-wise sales summary. In a year we have four zones, red color in each year represents the North zone, red color represents the East zone, green color represents the South zone, and light blue represents the West zone.
In this way, legends are very useful in identifying the same set of data series in different categories.
With regards to legends, we are covering all the things you need to know about the excel chart legends, Follow this article to know the ins and outs of legends.
How to Add Legends to Chart in Excel?
Below are the few examples to add legends in excel.
Example #1 – Work with Default Legends in Excel Charts
When you create a chart in excel we see legends at the bottom of the chart just below the X-Axis.
The above chart is a single legend i.e. in each category we have only one set of data, so no need for legends here. But in the case of multiple items in each category, we have to display legends to understand the scheme of things.
For an example look at the below image.
Here 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 are the main categories. Under these categories, we have sub-categories that are common for all the years i.e. North, East, South, and West.
Example #2 – Positioning of Legends in Excel Charts
As we have seen by default we get legends at the bottom of every chart. But that is not the end of it, we can adjust it to the left, right, top, top right and bottom.
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In order to change the positioning of the legend in excel 2013 and later versions, there is a small PLUS button on the right-hand side of the chart.
If you click on that PLUS icon, we will see all the chart elements.
Here we can change, enable, and disable all the chart elements. Now go to Legend and place a cursor on the legend, we will see Legend options.
Right now it is showing as Bottom i.e. legends are showing at the bottom of the chart. You can change the position of the legend as per your wish.
The below images will display the different positioning of the legend.
Legend at Right Side
Click on the Right option in Legend.
You will see the legends on the right-hand side of the graph.
Legends at the top of the chart
Select Top option from the Legend and you will see the legends at the top of the chart.
Legends at the Left Side of the chart
Select Left option from the Legend and you will see the legends at the left side of the chart.
Legends at the Top Right Side of the Chart
Go to more options, select the Top Right option and you will see the result as follows.
If you are using Excel 2007 & 2010 positioning of legend will not be available as shown in the above image. Select the chart and go to Design.
Under Design, we have the Add Chart Element.
Click on the drop-down list of Add Chart Element > Legends > Legend Options.
In the above tool, we need to change the legend positioning.
Example #3 – Excel Legends are Dynamic in Nature
Legends are dynamic in excel as formulas. Since the legends are directly related to the data series any changes made to the data range will effect legends directly.
For example look at the chart and legends.
Now I will change the North zone’s color to Red and see the impact on legends.
Legends’ indication color has also changed to Red automatically.
Now for experiment purposes, I will change the North zone as India in the excel cell.
Now see what the legend name is.
It is automatically updated the legend name from North to INDIA. These legends are dynamic in nature if they are directly referred to the data series range.
Example #4 – Overlapping of Legends in Excel Chart
By default, legends will not overlap other chart elements, but if space is too constraint then it will overlap on other chart elements. Below is an example of the same.
In the above image, legends are overlapped on X-Axis. To make it proper go to legends and check the option “show the legend without overlapping the chart.
It will separate the legends from other chart elements and shows them differently.
Things to Remember While Adding Legends in Excel
Below are a few things to remember.
- By default, we get legends at the bottom.
- Legends are dynamic and change as per the change in color and text.
- We can change the positioning of the legend as per our wish but cannot place outside the chart area.
This has been a guide to Legends in Excel Chart. Here we discuss how to Add Legends in Excel with examples and downloadable excel templates. You may also look at these useful functions in excel –