How to Add a Legend in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Adding a legend in Excel is straightforward. You start by creating a chart and then simply add a legend through the Excel Chart Tools. Follow the steps outlined below to enhance the readability and presentation of your data by incorporating a legend into your Excel charts.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Add a Legend in Excel

Adding a legend in Excel helps clarify the information presented in your charts. Follow these steps to add a legend to your chart efficiently.

Step 1: Select Your Chart

First, click on the chart to which you want to add a legend.

When you select the chart, you’ll notice that Chart Tools appear on the ribbon, giving you options to customize your chart further.

Step 2: Go to the Chart Tools

Navigate to the "Chart Tools" that appear at the top of the Excel window.

Within the Chart Tools, you’ll find the Design and Format tabs. These tabs contain various chart customization options, including adding a legend.

Step 3: Click on the Design Tab

Under the Chart Tools, click on the "Design" tab.

In the Design tab, you will see multiple options for customizing your chart’s layout and style, including options for adding a legend.

Step 4: Add Chart Element

Click on the "Add Chart Element" dropdown menu in the Design tab.

In this dropdown menu, you will find various elements you can add to your chart, such as titles, data labels, and legends.

Step 5: Select Legend

From the dropdown menu, hover over "Legend," and select the desired legend position (e.g., top, bottom, left, right).

Once you select a position, the legend will appear in your chosen location on the chart, making it easy for viewers to understand the data.

After completing these steps, your chart will have a legend that clearly identifies the different data series, making it more informative and visually appealing.

Tips: How to Add a Legend in Excel

  • Customize Legend Entries: You can customize the text of legend entries by clicking on the legend and typing the desired text.
  • Reposition the Legend: If the default positions don’t suit your chart, you can manually drag the legend to any location within the chart area.
  • Use Different Legend Styles: Use the "Format Legend" option to change the style, color, and font of your legend to match your chart’s overall design.
  • Hide the Legend Temporarily: You can temporarily hide the legend by unchecking the "Legend" option in the "Add Chart Element" dropdown.
  • Update Automatically: Legends update automatically when you change data series names or add/remove data series, ensuring your chart remains accurate.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Add a Legend in Excel

How do I change the legend text in Excel?

Click on the legend text you want to change, then type the new text directly.

Can I move the legend to a custom position?

Yes, you can click and drag the legend to any position within the chart area.

How do I remove the legend from my chart?

Go to the "Add Chart Element" dropdown and uncheck the "Legend" option.

What if my legend doesn’t update with data changes?

Ensure your data series names are correctly updated in the chart data range; the legend should update automatically.

Can I format the legend’s appearance?

Yes, right-click on the legend and select "Format Legend" to customize its appearance.


  1. Select Your Chart
  2. Go to the Chart Tools
  3. Click on the Design Tab
  4. Add Chart Element
  5. Select Legend


Now that you’ve mastered how to add a legend in Excel, your charts will be more informative and easier to understand. Adding a legend is a simple yet effective way to enhance your data presentation.

Legends provide context, helping viewers quickly grasp what each data series represents. This process is not just useful for making your charts look professional but also crucial for effective communication of data. Whether you’re preparing a report, a school project, or a business presentation, a well-placed legend makes a significant difference.

If you want to dive deeper, explore Excel’s other chart customization tools. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, go ahead, experiment with different legend positions and styles. Your charts will thank you!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy