How to Edit Legend in Excel

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The key to understanding charts is through the use of legends.  Legends are automatically created everytime we create a graph or plot our data.  

Figure 1.  Final result:  How to edit legend

In the chart above, the legend is located in the top center of the graph, showing a bulleted list with text “A” and “B Sales”.  

When we encounter an Excel chart without a legend, we can easily add a legend through these steps:   

Add legend to an Excel chart

Step 1.  Click anywhere on the chart

Step 2.  Click the Layout tab, then Legend

Step 3.  From the Legend drop-down menu, select the position we prefer for the legend

Example: Select Show Legend at Right

Figure  2. Adding a legend

The legend will then appear in the right side of the graph.  

Figure  3. Output:  Add legend to a chart

The legend in a chart can be edited by changing the name, or customizing its position and format.  

How to change legend name?

There are two ways to change the legend name:

  • Change series name in Select Data  
  • Change legend name   

Change Series Name in Select Data

Step 1. Right-click anywhere on the chart and click Select Data

Figure 4.  Change legend text through Select Data

Step 2.  Select the series Brand A and click Edit

Figure  5. Edit Series in Excel

The Edit Series dialog box will pop-up.  

Figure  6. Edit Series preview pane

Step 3.  Delete the current entry “=Sheet1!$C$2” in series name and enter “A” into the text box.  

Figure  7. Changing legend text

The legend name is immediately changed to “A”.  

Figure  8. Output:  How to rename legend

Change legend name

Step 1.  First, we must determine the cell that contains the legend name for our chart by clicking the chart.  As shown below, the column chart for Brand B is linked to cells D2:D7.  

Figure 9.  Change legend text

Step 2.  Since D2 contains the legend name, we select D2 and type the new legend name “B Sales”.  

Figure  10. Change legend name

As shown above, the legend name on the chart is instantly updated from “Brand B” to “B Sales”.  

How to edit legend?

Legends can be customized by changing the layout, position or format.  

How to change legend position?

It is very easy to change the legend position in Excel.  Simply click the chart, then click the Layout tab.  Under Legend, choose the preferred position from the drop-down menu.  

Figure  11. Change legend position


Select Show Legend at Top from the drop-down menu.  As shown below, the legend is transferred to the top of the chart.  

Figure  12. Output:  Change legend position

How to edit legend format?

In order to change the format, right-click the legend and select Format Legend.  

Figure  13.  Edit legend through Format Legend

The Format Legend dialog box will appear.  There are several options where we can change the legend position, fill, border color, border styles, and other formatting options.  

Figure  14. Format legend preview pane


We want to fill the legend box with Aqua, Accent 5, Lighter 60%.  

We click Fill, then tick Solid Fill.  

Figure  15. Change legend fill

Choose the color we prefer and click OK.  The fill color will automatically be updated to the chosen color.  

Figure  16. Select fill color for legend

We can add more formatting changes.  Below chart shows the legend format with a 5% pattern fill and an orange border color.  

Figure  17. Final result:  How to edit legend