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

Adding a legend to an Excel chart is a simple process that helps clarify what the different data points or series in your chart represent. To do this, you’ll need to open your chart, go to the Chart Tools on the ribbon, and select the Legend option from the Chart Element dropdown menu. This brief guide will walk you through each step to ensure your chart is easy to understand and visually appealing.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on Adding a Legend to an Excel Chart

Adding a legend to an Excel chart will make it easier for anyone viewing your chart to understand your data. Here’s how you can do it in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Open Your Excel File

First, open the Excel file that contains the chart you want to add a legend to.

Make sure your chart is visible and easy to locate within the spreadsheet. This will save you time as you move on to the next steps.

Step 2: Click on the Chart

Next, click on the chart to select it. This will bring up the Chart Tools on the ribbon.

When you select your chart, you’ll see the Chart Tools Design and Format tabs at the top of the Excel window. These tabs contain all the options you need to customize your chart.

Step 3: Go to Chart Tools Design Tab

Navigate to the Chart Tools Design tab to find the options to customize your chart, including the legend.

In the Design tab, you’ll find a variety of customization options that can help enhance the visual appeal and readability of your chart.

Step 4: Click on Add Chart Element

In the Design tab, click on the Add Chart Element dropdown menu to see a list of elements you can add to your chart.

This menu contains options for adding titles, labels, and, most importantly, a legend to your chart.

Step 5: Select Legend

From the Add Chart Element dropdown menu, hover over the Legend option and select the position where you want the legend to appear (e.g., right, top, left, bottom).

Choosing the right position for your legend is essential. It should not obstruct the data but should be in a location that’s easy to read.

Step 6: Customize the Legend

After adding the legend, you can further customize its appearance by changing the font, size, and color if needed.

Customizing the legend can help make it stand out and match the overall theme of your chart, making your data presentation even clearer.

Once you have completed these steps, your chart will have a legend that makes it easier to understand the data represented.

Tips for Adding a Legend to an Excel Chart

  • Consistency: Ensure that the colors and symbols in the legend match those in the chart for clarity.
  • Placement: Choose a legend position that doesn’t cover any essential data points.
  • Font Size: Use a font size that’s readable but doesn’t dominate the chart.
  • Simplicity: Keep the legend simple and straightforward; avoid overcrowding it with too much information.
  • Alignment: Make sure the legend is aligned properly to maintain a clean look for your chart.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I remove a legend from an Excel chart?

Simply click on the legend and press the Delete key, or go to the Add Chart Element dropdown menu and deselect the Legend option.

Can I edit the text in the legend?

Yes, double-click on the legend text to edit it directly or update the data series names that the legend is based on.

What if my chart doesn’t have a Legend option?

Ensure you’re using a chart type that supports legends. Most standard charts like bar, line, and pie charts do support legends.

How do I change the legend position after adding it?

Click on the legend to select it, then drag it to your desired position or use the Add Chart Element dropdown menu to change its placement.

Can I add multiple legends to a single chart?

Excel typically supports only one legend per chart. However, you can manually create additional legends using text boxes and shapes if needed.


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


Adding a legend to an Excel chart is a straightforward process that significantly enhances the clarity of your data presentation. By following these steps, you can effortlessly add a legend and customize it to fit perfectly with your chart’s layout. A well-placed and clearly labeled legend helps your audience quickly grasp the key points of your data, making your charts more effective and professional.

Remember, the devil is in the details. Taking the time to customize and position your legend properly can make a world of difference. Whether you’re preparing a presentation for school, work, or personal projects, a well-crafted chart with a clear legend can communicate your data more effectively.

If you’re interested in learning more about Excel chart customization, there are countless resources and tutorials available online. Don’t hesitate to explore and experiment with different chart elements to find the perfect combination for your data. Happy charting!

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