Data labels make a chart easier to understand because they show details about a data series or its individual data points. For example, in the pie chart below, without the data labels it would be difficult to tell that coffee was 38% of total sales.
You can format the labels to show specific labels elements like, the percentages, series name, or category name.
There are a lot of formatting options for data labels. You can use leader lines to connect the labels, change the shape of the label, and resize a data label. And they’re all done in the Format Data Labels task pane. To get there, after adding your data labels for windows or Mac, select the datalabel to format, and then click Chart Elements > Data Labels > More Options.
To go to the appropriate area, click one of the four icons (Fill & Line, Effects, Size & Properties (Layout & Properties in Outlook or Word), or Label Options) shown here.
Here are step-by-step instructions for the some of the most popular things you can do. If you want to know more about titles in data labels, see Edit titles or data labels in a chart
Connect data labels to data points using leader lines
A line that connects a data label and its associated data point is called a leader line—helpful when you’ve placed a data label away from a data point. To add a leader line to your chart, click the label and drag it after you see the four headed arrow. If you move the data label, the leader line automatically adjusts and follows it. In earlier versions, only pie charts had this functionality—now all chart types with data labels have this.
Change the look of leader lines
- Click the connecting lines you want to change.
- Click Fill & Line > Line, and then make the changes that you want
Change the look of the data labels
There are many things you can do to change the look of the data label like changing the border color of the data label for emphasis.
- Click the data labels whose border you want to change. Click twice to change the border for just one data label.
- Click Fill & Line > Border, and then make the changes you want.
Change the shape of a data label
You can make your data label just about any shape to personalize your chart.
- Right-click the data label you want to change, and then click Change Data Label Shapes.
- Pick the shape you want.
Resize a data label
Click the data label and drag it to the size you want.
Add a field to a data label
You can add a built-in chart field, such as the series or category name, to the data label. But much more powerful is adding a cell reference with explanatory text or a calculated value.
- Click the data label, right click it, and then click Insert Data Label Field.
If you have selected the entire data series, you won’t see this command.
Make sure that you have selected just one data label
- Click the field you want to add to the data label
- To link the data label to a cell reference, click [Cell] Choose Cell and then enter a cell reference.