How to Add a Legend on Excel for Mac

by William Pullman

Microsoft Excel charts include legends by default. You can delete the legend or change the settings so that it isn't inserted when the chart is created, but doing so can make the chart difficult for others to read, especially if it contains many data points. If you decide that you need a legend after all, you can manually add one to your Excel chart. The Mac version of Excel has the same options for creating and editing a legend as the Windows version does, but the process for adding the legend is different.

1

Click the chart with the missing legend to reveal the Chart Layout tab, and then click on that tab to view the Chart Layout ribbon.

2

Click the "Legend" drop-down menu in the ribbon and select "Legend Options" to open the Format Legend window.

3

Click the "Placement" tab and select where you want the legend to appear on the chart. The location you choose for the legend is not permanent; you can manually move the legend to a more precise position after adding it to the chart.

4

Select any of the remaining tabs in the Format Legend window and change the settings as needed. The tabs are "Font," which includes the font type, style, color and size settings, among others; "Fill," which lets you change the background color of the legend; "Line," for making changes to the border around the legend; and the "Shadow" and "Glow & Soft Edges" tabs, which add different visual effects to the legend box.

5

Click "OK" to place the legend in the chart.

Tip

  • To manually change the legend location on the chart, click and hold the legend and move the mouse to drag it around the chart box.

Warning

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

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About the Author

William Pullman is a freelance writer from New Jersey. He has written for a variety of online and offline media publications, including "The Daily Journal," "Ocular Surgery News," "Endocrine Today," radio, blogs and other various Internet platforms. Pullman holds a Master of Arts degree in Writing from Rowan University.

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