No more legends? Charts in Excel contd.

When creating a chart in Excel, have you ever found that you have so many sections that a legend is more confusing than helpful? It can be so inconvenient to link the legend to your chart. Here are “Before” and “After” examples of what I would suggest:



Before                                                                            After

You can download the example file (Guide Arc.xlsx) here to practice!

1. Create Guide Arc

1). [INSERT] – [Shapes] – [Arc], set the Height and Width both 3.9″ in the [FORMAT]



2). In the same way, create more arcs. I would create 8 more arcs, and set their height and width to be: 3.8″ – 3.7″ – 3.6″ – 3.5″ – … – 3.1″

3). Press F5, [Go To] – [Special…] – [Objects]. This will help you select all objects in your spreadsheet. (Remember to exclude your bar chart so that it is not selected!)


4). [PICTURE TOOL] – [FORMAT] – [Align], choose [Align Center] and [Align Middle]

5). Group all the arcs, [PICTURE TOOL] – [FORMAT] – [Group]
Not familiar with alignment and grouping? Learn now! So now you should have something like this:

arc 2. Align Guide Arc

1). [HOME] – [Editing] – [Find&Select] – [Selection Pane]


2). In the selection pane, you can see all your objects in your spreadsheet. Then choose Arc1, [PICTURE TOOL] – [FORMAT] – [Rotate] – [More Rotation Options]


3). In the rotation option, adjust the rotation angle.

4). Do the same thing for your other arcs. Also adjust the colors to match their target slice.


5). Add straight lines pointing to the center of the pie chart.


3. Group Guide Arc and Pie Chart

1). Put your pie chart and guide arcs together

2). Add horizontal text guide line and corresponding text

arc23). Delete extra legends – just click on the single legend and then hit delete!

Done! So, now you don’t have to look for legends anymore; you can see right on the chart exactly what a small slice of the pie represents.


As always, if  you have questions about charts or other aspects of Excel, please stop by the Weigle Information Commons during my weekly Excel office hours, and I will show you how to make your Excel charts more attractive!


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