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How to Rename a Chart or Graph Legend in Microsoft Excel 2007

How to edit the legends in excel graphs and charts, in simple steps.

Excel 2007’s "Insert Chart" function can create professional-looking charts and graphs in an instant, but sometimes they need a little tweaking to be completely clear to your audience. As the legends on the chart are taken directly from the column headings of the worksheet or area of the sheet selected, they often need renaming to clarify exactly what data they represent. To follow the steps below, you will need to have already created a chart. If you haven't already created one, just select an area of cells, click on "Insert" (on the menu ribbon at the top of the Excel window) and choose from the types of charts shown to create on.

To Edit a Legend

Step 1

Open your Excel spreadsheet and click on the graph to select it. If you have just created a chart or graph, it will be in the center of your screen.

Step 2

Click anywhere on the legend (normally these are on the right-hand side of the chart box) to select the legend box, the legend box is invisible until it is selected. Small blue circles will appear at the corners of the legend box when it is selected. These circles can be used to change the size and dimensions of the legend box area; you can also move the legend box when it is selected by clicking on it and dragging it.

Step 3

Right-click in the selected box and choose "Select Data" from the menu that opens.

Step 4

The "Select Data Source" window will open; to the left of this window is the Legend Entries pane. Click on the legend you want to edit ,and click the "Edit" button at the top of the Legend Entries pane.

Step 5

The Edit Series box will open, if you have used a section of data with column and row headings Excel will have recognized these automatically and used them as Legend. The column or row heading reference will be shown in the Edit Series box and look something like “=Sheet1!$E$3”. Delete this formula (if needed) in the Series Name box by clicking in the box and pressing delete (if your data does not use column or row headings then the box will already be blank). Click in the blank Series Name box and type in the legend you want the chart to show.

Step 6

Click OK on this box, and then OK on the Select Data Source window and the legend will now show what you have renamed it to. Changing the Legend lables on a chart does not change the coloum headings on the spreadsheet.

Tips

• Spend some time editing graphs; try different types of graphs, different styles (2D or not 2D), colors, resize them and change their layouts. You can then be sure to have exactly what you want, rather than the automatic defaults of Excel like everyone else.

Reference

• "Excel 2007 for Dummies"; Greg Harvey; 2007

Resource

University of South Dakota: Excel Tutorial 

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Comments (2)

Very helpful information for anyone using excel. It is good to spend sometime getting the right look for your graphs.

informative and helpful,thanks

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