How to Format Data Labels in Excel


Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that can be used to manipulate, analyze, summarize and chart data. Data labels are labels that refer to specific chart data. Excel allows you to format data labels to give them a more personalized touch. Borders, shading, background colors, fonts, and font sizes can all be customized; even the angle of the text can be changed.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Launch “Microsoft Excel” by double clicking the program’s shortcut on the desktop, or by selecting “Microsoft Excel” from the “Programs” or “All Programs” menu.

  • Click “File” or the “Office Button” in the upper left corner of the program window and select “Open.” Click on the downward pointing arrow to the right of the “Look in” text box, and navigate to your Excel file. Select the file and click “Open” or double click the file to open it.

  • Go to step 4 if you have Excel 2007; otherwise select the chart with the data labels you want to format. Click “Chart” on the menu bar and select “Chart Options” to open up the “Chart Options” dialog box. Click the “Data Labels” tab at the top of the window.

  • Do this step if you have Excel 2007. Click the right mouse button on the data labels and select “Format Data Labels.” Click the “Label Options” tab at the top of the window.

  • Select “Series name,” “Category name” or “Value,” depending on what label you want displayed. Select more than one label if appropriate.

  • Select a “Separator” of your choice if more than one data label was selected. Click “OK” if you have Excel 2003 or an earlier version. Click “Close” if you have Excel 2007.

  • Click the right mouse button on the data labels, and Select “Format Data Labels.” Select a background color, border style, border color and border weight.

  • Click the “Number” tab if your data labels are displayed as values. Select the appropriate “Category” type for the values.

  • Click the “3-D Format” tab for Excel 2007. Select a “3-D Format.”

  • Click the “Alignment” tab. Select a “Horizontal” or “Vertical” alignment for your text.

  • Click in the “Degrees” or “Custom angle” text box. Type a number to angle the text at.

  • Click “Ok” for Excel 2003 and earlier, or click “Close” for Excel 2007. Your chart should be displayed with your newly formatted data labels.

  • Click the data labels to select them. Select a “Font”, “Font Color” of your choice, using the buttons on the “Formatting Toolbar” or ribbon, if you are using Excel 2007.

  • Click “File” on the menu bar, or the “Office Button” and select “Save” to save the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet can also be saved by clicking the save button on the toolbar.

Tips & Warnings

  • The version of Excel, will dictate whether you will need to use the file menu or office button to open an existing spreadsheet or document.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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