Editing Chart Text and Labels

After laboring to collect your data and spin it into a beautiful chart chock-full of insight, don’t forget to tell your reader what it means. The text on your chart—the title, the legend, the data labels—is very nearly as important as the data itself, since it’s the text that says what those bars, lines, and scatterplot dots represent. When your chart goes to 11, your text should concisely answer the question, “Eleven what?”

This imperative has to be balanced with clear communication—too many text labels can choke a chart with needless clutter. Add just enough text to explain your data and stop there. The Chart Inspector lets you add a variety of text elements, including chart title, chart legend, axis titles, and axis data labels.

The Chart Title

Like tables, every chart has a name that appears in the Sheets pane. When you first add a chart to your spreadsheet, this name appears above the chart. To edit this title, double-click it, or double-click the name in the Sheets pane, and type the new name. If you prefer not to display the title above the chart, turn off the Show Title checkbox in the Chart Inspector → Chart tab or in the Format Bar’s Chart Options pop-up menu.

The Chart Legend

The chart’s legend is a separate object that you can manipulate independently of the chart. The legend is like a cousin of the text box: You can adjust its fill, stroke, or opacity with the Graphic Inspector, or rotate it with the Metrics Inspector.

The legend displays the ...

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