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We've created some useful charts in our previous posts. This time, let's do a small summary about axis labels. Even though axis labels are very common, you can customize them to promote your chart. I find 3 different usages from my collection.
Case 1: Put Axis Labels among Bars
When the axis labels are long, it's not a good solution to display them below axis. Professional magazines usually put them among bars. The following chart comes from the Business Week. Axis label is above bar items. Excel does not support this, but we can implement it very easy.
We need an auxiliary data series and the "Data Label Updater" tool for this case. The first column of the following data table is the raw data. The second column is axis label and column C & D will be used to control label position.
1.1 Select column A and insert a clustered bar into your workbook.
1.2 Select column C & D and insert a "scatter with only marks" into your chart.
1.3 Enable data label for scatter chart.
Your chart will look like this:
The above chart looks urge. How to control data label's width and display them in single line? Excel has no configure for this. But I find a solution for it. For scatter charts' data label, the width is controlled by the width of chart area. But other charts such as bar or column, the data labels' width is controlled by bar chart itself and plot area. This is the reason I choose scatter as my data labels controller. So if you expand the chart area, the data label will become single line at last. Notice you must keep the width of plot area when you expand the chart area. After that, the chart looks like:
1.4 Beautify your chart and add title and cut useless part away, your chart will become this one.
Case 2: Put Axis Label at random position of column chart
We can use the similar technology to put axis label at random position of a column chart. The following chart put axis label left edge of column bar.
Data Table: The raw comes from internet.
Draft Chart: Select column A & B to create a clustered column chart and add column D & E as scatter chart on secondary plot area. Enable data labels for the scatter chart.
Result Chart: Maybe you've found the axis labels are put at the left edge of column items. You can even move data label out of the column items now. But by default, you cannot control data labels' position in Excel directly.
Case 3: User Icon as axis label
When the chart has relation with country, we usually use national flag as part of axis label. The following chart comes from the Economist.
Let’s get all data from the above chart. The column C & D will be used for data label.
3.1 Select Column B and insert a bar chart into workbook
3.2 Select Column C & D and insert a scatter chart into workbook onto the secondary plot area.
3.3 Enable data label and update data label to countries
3.4 Select each mark in scatter chart and paste a national flag and label icon.
3.5 Apply different color and theme; Add title and sub-title; Append foot and comment.