How to add data labels and callouts to Microsoft Excel 365 charts?

Here’s a question from a reader:

I use Microsoft 365 Excel for data entry purposes. Once i have the data ready in the spreadsheet i would like to create different charts: pie, bars and so forth, all based on my dataset. It seems that by default no labels are posted in my Excel chart making it harder to understand the data aggregation. Any ideas how to add labels to my Excel chart?

Insert Excel data text labels and callouts

Having data labels on your charts makes it much easier and faster for your readers to understand the information you are conveying in a couple seconds. If you are having challenges adding data labels to your Excel charts, this guide is for you. I will take you through a step-step procedure that you can use to easily add data labels to your charts. The steps that I will share in this guide apply to Excel 2021 / 2019 / 2016. 

  • Step #1: After generating the chart in Excel, right-click anywhere within the chart and select Add labels. Note that you can also select the very handy option of Adding data Callouts.
  • Step #2: When you select the “Add Labels” option, all the different portions of the chart will automatically take on the corresponding values in the table that you used to generate the chart. The values in your chat labels are dynamic and will automatically change when the source value in the table changes. 
  • Step #3: Format the data labels. Excel also gives you the option of formatting the data labels to suit your desired look if you don’t like the default. To make changes to the data labels, right-click within the chart and select the “Format Labels” option. Some of the formatting options you will have include; changing the label position, changing its alignment angle, and many more. 
  • Step #4: Drag to reposition: If you want to place one or multiple text labels in a specific position with the chart, you can easily hit your text label to move and position it accordingly.
  • Step #5: Optional Step: Save your Excel chart as picture. After adding the labels and making all the changes you need; you can save your chart as a picture by right-clicking any point just outside the chart and select the “Save as Picture” option. By default, your chart will be saved in in your Pictures folder or on OneDrive as a graphic file such as png / bmp or jpg. You can access your saved pictures using Windows File Explorer.