7. Adding Labels to Other Charts


In this lesson, I'll show you how to add labels to add labels to other chart types including pie charts and bar charts. I'll also show you when not to use labels.

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  1. Adding Labels to Pie Charts (00:18)

    To add labels to a pie chart, we right click on a segment and select Add Data Labels. By default, these labels tell us the size of each segment. For example, in a revenue pie chart, each data label shows us the revenue amount for that segment.

    It’s better for pie chart data labels to show percentages. To achieve this, we right click a data label and select Format Data Labels. In the Label Options section, we unselect Values and select Percentage. Now, the label for each segment will be its percentage of the overall pie.

  2. Adding Labels to 100% Stacked Column Charts (01:19)

    We have a 100% stacked column chart showing revenue by region and year. When we add data labels to this chart, the labels will show revenue figures as well. We’d prefer to show the labels as percentages, however this is not an inbuilt option for this chart type. 

    Instead, we need to calculate the percentage of annual revenue for each region in the data set. We then change the chart to refer to the percentage data instead of the revenue data. The data labels will then show percentages, which is the best option for this type of chart.

  3. Adding Labels to Other Charts (02:53)

    For horizontal bar charts, data labels should be placed at the end of each bar. For line charts, there will usually be too many points for data labels to be effective, so it’s better to use a vertical axis instead.


In the previous lesson we learned how to add data labels to column charts. In this lesson we'll learn how to add data labels to other charts. Column charts are very suited to data labels because the text can be read very easily from the chart. Labels can actually be applied to all types of charts but only work well in certain instances which I'll show you in this lesson. For charts that hold a limited number of data points, such as a pie chart, labels can work very well.

In this scenario I have a pie chart that shows the revenue breakdown for 2003. I'll right click on one of the segments and add data labels. When I right click and add data labels the actual revenue figures are shown in each segment. I'd much prefer this to be the percentages. Thankfully pie charts can automatically calculate the percentage for us. Select the data labels, right click and format data labels.

In the label options we'll remove the values and we'll add the percentages.

And when I escape from this dialog box you can see that the percentages have been added to our pie chart. We can format these labels by changing their color to white and increasing their size to say 16.

This now makes our chart a lot more readable. 100% stacked column charts can also benefit from data labels.

In this example I have a 100% stacked column chart for the revenues from 2009 to 2013. Unfortunately, these values are showing the full revenue figures and again I'd like to show the percentages.

This stacked column chart does not have a percentage option in the data labels dialogue box. If I right click and format data labels I can't find the percentage option in this menu. Instead, I'll have to calculate the percentages manually.

So returning to our data set, I'll select the North American Revenue and divide by the sum of all revenues.

And I'll anchor this array vertically.

I'll then copy and paste for the remaining three cells.

And I can actually copy and paste for the remaining four years as well.

All I need to do now is select the chart and move the selected data to my percentages array.

And this now makes our stacked column chart much easier to read.

For 100% stacked column charts always try and display your information in percentages rather than absolute values, even though Excel doesn't give you this option automatically.

For horizontal bar charts labels can also work very well. Particularly when they're placed at the end of the bar, like so.

For line charts however, where you have lots of data points, in this case I have over 100 data points, when we add data labels it actually makes our chart impossible to read.

So for charts with a large number of data points you're probably better off sticking to the vertical axis.

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