Adding Labels to the Bubbles in an Excel Bubble Chart

Charts

You can apply data labels to the bubbles to show the data they represent by right-clicking a bubble so the entire series is selected, then choosing Format Data Labels. Initially only Y values are displayed, but you can choose to add X values, the Z values (bubble size), and more.

What you’d really like to do is add data labels of your own design. And even better, how about adding data labels with multiple lines that include data such as project name, date, revenue, etc. – the additional data that might be needed to make decisions.

In Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 here’s how to apply custom data labels such as project names,

1. Enter the custom names you want to appear as labels in a column like your data. They do not need to be adjacent to the X, Y data.

2. Right-click a bubble to select all bubbles, then choose Add Data Labels. Y values will appear next to each bubble.

3. Click on a Y-value label to select it, type = in the blank formula bar, click on the cell containing the text label for that bubble, then press Enter. The text in the cell reference will appear adjacent to the bubble as a label.

4. Repeat for each label.

For Excel 2013 it’s much easier. You can create custom data labels for an entire data series at one time.

1. Enter the custom names you want to appear as labels in a column like your data. They do not need to be adjacent to the X, Y data.

2. Right-click a bubble to select all bubbles, then choose Add Data Labels. Y values will appear next to each bubble.

3. Right-click on a Y-value label to select all the labels, then choose Format Data Labels.

4. In Excel 2013 you have extra choices. Choose Label Contains Value from Cells. In the dialog that appears choose Select Data Label Range, drag across the cells containing your data labels, then click Ok.

All the bubbles will be labeled at one time.

At this point you may want to select a single label or all labels and reposition them, change the font, or label background.

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