Setting up a chart can get your point across more effectively than presenting the same data in the form of a table, regardless of what the data actually is. The problem is that the more data you have in your chart, the harder it will be to understand without a legend. If you've created a legend-less chart or have inherited a spreadsheet containing a chart from which somebody removed the legend, you don't need to recreate the chart from scratch in order to add a legend to it.

Step 1

Launch Excel, open your spreadsheet, and then select your chart.

Step 2

Select the "Chart Layout" tab, and then click the "Legend" button in the Labels group.

Step 3

Click the menu entry corresponding to the location where you want the legend to appear. You can display the legend at the top, bottom, left or right of the chart; you can also overlap it over the chart, either on the left or on the right side. Test various positions until you find the ideal one.


  • Information in this article applies to Excel for Mac 2011. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.


  • To remove the legend, click the "Legend" button, and then select "No Legend."

  • Click "Legend," and then select "Legend Options" to change various legend formatting options, such as font size.