8. Formatting Chart Titles


Chart titles need to be written and formatted correctly so they are easy to read and understand. Learn how to create static and dynamic chart titles for your charts.

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  1. Adding a Title to a Chart (00:04)

    To add a chart title in Excel, select the chart, then from the Design tab in the ribbon, select Add Chart Element, and Chart Title. You can then select where you want to position the title. In this lesson, we select the option to place the title above the chart. You then type the title that you want to give the chart.

    After adding a chart, you can format it. Here we choose to reduce the font size to 12, and place the title above the top left corner of the chart. You should give all your charts a consistent format. In a column chart, the title should describe the contents of each column, and then give the units, for example “Revenue by region, %”

  2. Creating a Dynamic Title (01:27)

    If a chart adjusts based on some input value, then you may want the chart’s title to adjust dynamically as well. To do this, we create the ideal title within a cell, and then link the chart title to that cell.

    We consider an example of a chart showing revenue projections, where the growth rate can be adjusted. To create the ideal title, we write the title as a text string, including a reference to the cell where the growth rate is found. We wrap this reference in a TEXT function to ensure this is formatted as a percentage. Once we’ve created the dynamic title, we select the chart title, and set its formula to be the cell where we created the dynamic title.


In the previous lesson we learned how to add data labels to various chart types. In this lesson, we'll learn how to add and format chart titles.

In PowerPoint, you have the freedom to add titles to charts manually using a text box and other features such as lines. You can also add text boxes and lines in Excel, but in fact it's much easier to just add a title within the chart object. To do so, we'll select the chart, go to the design tab in the ribbon and then chart title.

We'll include a title above the chart.

We'll then simply start typing the chart title.

We'll press enter, once we're finished.

When using titles in Excel, I'll normally reduce the font to something a lot smaller say 12, and I'll move my heading to the left-hand side. I think this looks better than when the title is placed in the middle of the chart.

As you can see, titles for charts are pretty easy to create.

I try to make sure my titles are always in the same format. The first part of the title describes the contents of each bar. In this case, the revenue by region. The second part, normally not in bold, is the unit.

To remove the bold from the percentage sign simply select it with a mouse and press control B.

Sometimes, particularly when modeling you may want to change the title of a chart dynamically. When the value of an input is changing.

In this example, we have a chart showing a revenue projection for the next six years, based on a growth rate of 10%. However, when we changed the growth rate to 15% the numbers change, but unfortunately our title does not.

So how do we link our title to an input cell? We'll start by creating the ideal title within a cell itself.

To do this, we're going to write a text string that will correspond to the title of the chart. And include the growth rate input using the ampersand sign. We'll write equals, open quotes, write revenue projection for, and then close quotes. We'll then write an ampersand sign, include the growth rate figure.

Then write another ampersand sign and continue the string that says annual growth rate.

We'll include our units, close the quotes and press enter.

Now, when we update the growth rate this version of the title updates accordingly however it's showing 0.1 instead of 10%. We'd like to show 10%. To do this, We'll simply pass the B4 value into a text function. We'll press F2 to jump back into the formula.

Rapid text function around B4 and the format of the text will be 0%.

We'll then close the parentheses and press enter.

Now our title will change perfectly within this cell. When we changed the growth rate.

All we need to do now is link the title of the chart to this cell.

So we'll select the title and in the formula bar, write equals and select the cell, which is B5.

Now when we change the growth rate to say 8% the title changes automatically.

When you have the input to a model as the title for your chart always consider a dynamic title. Otherwise when you change the input and replot the data on the chart, your title may be incorrect and lead to confusion for the reader.

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