Excel Chart Elements: Parts of Charts in Excel

To understand an Excel chat well, I will advise you to know the Excel chart elements very well. It is very important to be introduced to the parts of charts in Excel. This article will give you the full guide.

Let’s start…

To introduce you to the different parts of an Excel chart, I have used the following data table.

Elements of an Excel Chart

I shall use this sample data to make a combo chart.

The chart I am going to make is like the following:

Elements of an Excel Chart

I am going to explain how to create this type of chart.

Let’s Create a Combo Chart at First

Combo chart is not a unique type of chart. You can just make a combo chart combining two other unique charts. Like you can make a combo chart combining a line chart and a clustered column chart. Our above chart is the combination of a line chart and a clustered column chart. Follow these steps to create a combo chart like the above:

    1. Click any cell within the data zone.
    2. Choose Insert ➪ Charts ➪ Recommended Charts. Insert Chart dialog box appears.
Elements of an Excel Chart

Insert ➪ Charts ➪ Recommended Charts

    1. Activate All Charts tab of Insert Chart dialog box.
    2. Select Combo from the left side options.
    3. I have chosen Clustered Column chart type for the Sales Calls data series.
    4. And chosen Line with Markers chart type for Units Sold data series.
    5. I want to make Units Sold as the secondary axis.
    6. Then click OK. Insert Chart dialog box disappears.
Elements of an Excel Chart

Insert Chart dialog box.

  1. We shall get a chart like this.
Elements of an Excel Chart

This raw chart I am getting now. Let’s polish it with some other tools.

Read More: How to Make a Control Chart with Excel VBA!

Adding Data Label to this chart

I want to add a data label to this chart. To do this:

    1. Activate the chart
    2. Click on the CHART ELEMENTS icon (“+” sign icon) from the top-right corner of the chart. A shortcut menu appears.
    3. Hover the mouse over the Data Label option from the list. Don’t click it. A little right-arrow icon appears, click on this icon.
    4. Another shortcut menu appears. Choose More Options… option from this list.
Elements of an Excel Chart

Adding Data Label to a chart.

  • Format Data Labels task pane appears. Deselect Value from the LABEL OPTIONS
Elements of an Excel Chart

Deselect Value option from the LABEL OPTIONS.

The chart so far looks like the following figure:

Elements of an Excel Chart

So the chart looks like this one.

Adding Axis Titles to the Chart

Now I want to add the Axis Titles to the Chart. There are three axes in this chart. The x-axis is for Month, First Y-axis is for Sales Calls and the Secondary Y-axis is for Units Sold. I shall mark them on the chart. Use these steps:

    1. Activate the chart again.
    2. Click on the CHART ELEMENTS icon (“+” sign icon) from the top-right corner of the chart. A shortcut menu appears.
    3. Select the Axis Titles option from the shortcut menu. Three Axis Title fields will appear in the relevant axes.
excel chart elements

Axis Title Change of the chart.

  1. Double Click on every Axis title to get the Edit mode (in Edit mode, you can change the name of the Axis), change the name of the Axis Title, and then change the format of Axis title like the following figure.
Elements of an Excel Chart

Finally, I get a chart like this one.

All the Elements of an Excel Chart

This Chart has two data series: Sales Calls and Units Sold. To plot Sales Calls, I have used vertical columns (Clustered Column Chart) and to plot the Units Sold I have used Stacked Line Chart with Markers. The chart data is placed in the cell range A1: C7.

Read More: Excel Charts with Dynamic Title and Legend Labels


This chart has a horizontal axis. The horizontal axis is known as the category axis. This axis holds the Month column information.

It has two vertical axes. Vertical axes are known as value axes. Each axis has a different scale. The left axis holds the Sales Calls data series, and the axis on the right side holds the Units Sold data series.

The value axes also display scale values. The left vertical axis shows scale values from 0 to 1,200, incremented by 200. The right vertical axis uses a different scale: 0 to 160, incremented by 20.

A question may arise: why two value axes? The chart uses two value axes as the two data series vary dramatically in scale. If we used the same scale to plot the chart, the line would barely be visible.

parts of chart in excel

Elements of an Excel Chart


Using Legend, we identify the data series or data points in the chart. In this chart example, the legend appears on the bottom of the chart.

Data Labels

In this chart Data Labels(45, 87, 150, and so on) are showed only for Units Sold data series. Data Labels for Sales Calls are not showed in this chart.

Chart Title

In our chart, the Chart title is Sales Calls and Units Sold showed in the top-middle of the chart area.

Horizontal Gridlines

Horizontal Gridlines are extensions of the value axis. Horizontal grid lines make it easier for the chart reader to determine the magnitude of the data points.

Chart Area and Plot Area

The entire background of the chart is Chart Area, only the actual chart area is called Plot area. These two are marked in the above chart. The plot area has a different color in the above image, not necessarily that all plot areas will have a different color.

Different Chart Types, Different Elements

Some charts may have more elements than discussed above, and some may have fewer elements. For example:

  • A pie chart has slices but no axis
  • A 3-D chart have walls and floor

Trend Line

You can also add a trend line to your chart from the Chart Elements(top-right corner of the chart, shown when the chart is activated).

Error Bars

You can display error bars in your chart.

Data Table

Data Table also can be shown in the chart.

Elements of an Excel Chart

Trend Line, Error Bars, and Data Table also can be added to your chart.

Download File

Download the following file to practice by yourself.


So, this was all from me on this topic. Let me know in case you face any issues while using this article. Thank you for reading.

Happy Excelling ☕

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