The Chart Title and Series Title

Your chart from the previous section should now look like this:

A 2D Bar Chart in Excel 2007

Once you have your chart in place, there are plenty of formatting options in Excel. In the chart above, for example, the title says "Chart Title". And there's a not terribly descriptive orange square that says "Series 1" (your bars may be blue). We'll see how to change that in a moment. But first, the Chart Title. (If you don't have a title in Excel 2010, select the first layout in the Chart Layouts panel.)

How to Change the Chart Title

To change the title of your chart, click on the title to select it:

Select the Chart Title

The circles surrounding the title tell you that it is selected. Once the title is selected, click on the letter "C" of Chart. Hold your left mouse button down and highlight the two words, as in the image below:

Highlight the text

Once your title is highlighted, you can change it by simply typing a new one:

Type a new title

While the title is highlighted, you can select a different font and font size, if you want (on the Home panel in the Excel Ribbon at the top.)

To deselect the title, click anywhere outside of it.

Formatting a Series Title

To change the Series 1 text on the Chart heading to something more descriptive, select the title as you did above:

The Series Title

Make sure the circles are there, and then right click. You should see the following menu appear in Excel 2007:

Edit Data Source menu

Click on "Edit data source". Alternatively, click the Edit data source item on the Data panel on the Excel 2007 Ribbon:

Data Panel

For Excel 2010 and 2016 users, your menu looks like this:

Edit Data Source in Excel 2010

The item to click on the menu above will say Select Data instead of Edit Data Source.

In both versions you should then see the following dialogue box appear.

The Edit Data Source dialogue box

The Chart Data Range at the top of the dialogue box is highlighting the cells A5 to B14. This is the data we selected for the chart. Below this there is an area for Legend Entries (Series) and Horizontal Axis Labels. We'll see more of these later. For now though, we just want to change Series 1 into something more descriptive.

So click on Series 1 to highlight it. Then click the Edit button, as in the image below:

Chart Legend Entries

When you click the Edit button, you'll see a new dialogue box appear - Edit Series. It should look like this:

Edit Series

Notice the cells being referenced in the Series name area. They are cells A5 to B14. These same cells are also highlighted on the spreadsheet:

The cells for the Series

Click on the BBC title instead, the one on Row 3 above. Your Edit Series dialogue box will have changed. The Series Name area will now say A3 (amongst all those dollars):

The cell reference has changed for Series name

Click OK to get back to your Edit Data Source dialogue box. The Series legend will now say BBC:

The Legend Entries list has changed

Click OK to return to your spreadsheet. But look what's happened to the chart. The Series 1 has gone. Next to the orange square, we now have BBC 1:

The Series Legend now says BBC1

We'll meet these boxes again when we create a chart from scratch. For now, let's see some more formatting option you can do with an Excel chart.

<--Back to the Excel Contents Page