Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on January 21, 2020

custom data labels in a chart1

You can easily change data labels in a chart. Select a single data label and enter a reference to a cell in the formula bar. You can also edit data labels, one by one, on the chart.

With many data labels, the task becomes quickly boring and time-consuming. But wait, there is a third option using a duplicate series on a secondary axis.

The animated image above shows you dynamic custom data labels. Here is how you build them.

Note! Before you continue reading. If you own Excel 2013 or a later version you don't have to do the work-around presented below this yellow box.

  1. Press with right mouse button on on any data series displayed in the chart.
  2. Press with mouse on "Add Data Labels".
  3. Press with mouse on Add Data Labels".
    Add data labels
  4. Double press with left mouse button on any data label to expand the "Format Data Series" pane.
  5. Enable checkbox "Value from cells".
    Add data labels1
    A small dialog box prompts for a cell range containing the values you want to use a s data labels.
  6. Select the cell range and press with left mouse button on OK button.

The chart shows the values you selected as data labels.

Create a chart

  1. Select a cell range
  2. Go to "Insert" tab
  3. Press with left mouse button on "Column" button
  4. Select the first 2-D Column chart

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Add another series to the chart

  1. Press with right mouse button on on chart
  2. Press with left mouse button on Select data
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  3. Press with left mouse button on "Add" button
  4. Select a series name, cell C2
  5. Select series values, C3:C8
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  6. Press with left mouse button on Ok
  7. Press with left mouse button on Ok

Plot series on the secondary axis

  1. Press with left mouse button on the second series on the chart
  2. Press with right mouse button on on a "second series" column
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  3. Press with left mouse button on "Format Data Series..."
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  4. Select "Secondary Axis"
  5. Press with left mouse button on Close

The following article shows you another trick using the secondary axis in a way it wasn't intended to do:

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Highlight a bar in a chart

Change the second series data source

  1. Press with right mouse button on on the chart
  2. Press with left mouse button on "Select Data"
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  3. Select the second series
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  4. Press with left mouse button on "Edit" button (Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels)
  5. Select cell range D3:D8
  6. Press with left mouse button on OK
  7. Press with left mouse button on OK

Add data labels

  1. Press with right mouse button on on a column
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  2. Press with left mouse button on "Add Data Labels"
  3. Double press with left mouse button on a data label
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  4. Deselect Value
  5. Select Category name
  6. Press with left mouse button on Close

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