In Excel’s lingo, chart elements include things like the chart title, the legend, gridlines, data labels, axis labels, and so forth. Before Excel 2013, chart elements were added using controls on the Layout tab of the ribbon, visible when a chart is selected. Starting with Excel 2013, the layout tab was removed and replaced by the chart elements control, which appears as a plus symbol when a chart is selected. Chart Elements is actually a fly-out menu, and it lets you quickly add and remove a large number of chart elements with simple checkboxes. I’ll run through a few examples so you can see how this works. A nice feature of the chart elements menu is that it builds a preview directly on the worksheet as you hover over each option in the menu. So, to add a chart title, I just need to check that box. And type an appropriate title. To remove the title, I can just uncheck the box again. Notice here that if you remove and add back a chart title, you’ll lose your custom text. However many elements do remember your customizations, when they are removed and then added back again. To add data labels to the chart, I can follow the same process. Notice that each top level menu in Chart elements contains a sub-menu of additional options, as you can see. In this case, with data labels on the chart, I might want to remove the grid lines. And maybe even the vertical axis. Chart elements can also be removed by simply selecting and deleting. Here I can click to select the data labels, and then delete. Then I can use the chart elements menu to enable the vertical axis again. It’s also important to know that you can freely move many chart elements freely. Just click once to select, then over until you see the 4-headed arrow, and then drag. You can hold down the shift key to constrain movement either horizontally or vertically.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.