Data labels are used to display source data in a chart directly. They normally come from the source data, but they can include other values as well, as we’ll see in in a moment. Generally, the easiest way to show data labels to use the chart elements menu. When you check the box, you’ll see data labels appear in the chart. If you have more than one data series, you can select a series first, then turn on data labels for that series only. You can even select a single bar, and show just one data label. In a bar or column chart, data labels will first appear outside the bar end. You’ll also find options for center, inside end, and inside base. There’s also a feature called “data callouts” which wraps data labels in a shape. When first enabled, data labels will show only values, but the Label Options area in the format task pane offers many other settings. You can set data labels to show the category name, the series name, and even values from cells. In this case for example, I can display comments from column E using the “value from cells” option. Leader lines simply connect a data label back to a chart element when it’s moved. You can turn them off if you want. You can also combine values in data labels and use a custom separator. Be aware that if you turn data labels off and on, you’ll lose any changes you’ve made. Like other chart elements, data labels inherit number formatting from the worksheet. However, you can set your own number format in the Number area. For example, in this case, I could use a number format with zero decimal places to shorten the display.

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.