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Chart Legend in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

Learn how to add and reposition chart legends in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows. Experiment with different legend positions to find the one that works best for you.

Charts in PowerPoint can be customized by changing the appearance of various chart elements. The legend is also a chart element. Typically, the legend is a box or area that contains color or pattern swatches representing all the series in a chart. Look at Figure 1, below that shows a default chart created in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows. The legend is the box that captions the series East, West, and North and identifies them with different colors so that you can follow which series each of the columns in that chart represent.


Figure 1: Chart in PowerPoint 2003

The legend can be formatted to be placed at various locations within the chart area, and you can hide it altogether. You can also remove the box that surrounds the legend.

Follow these steps to change the location of the legend in the chart area, hide it altogether, or remove the boxed outline around it in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows:

  1. You first need to have a chart in your presentation. Learn how to insert a chart in PowerPoint 2003.
  2. Now double-click the chart to get into chart editing mode, as shown in Figure 2, below. Notice that the menu and toolbars are now changed from the default PowerPoint interface.

  3. Figure 2: Chart editing mode
  4. Default Legend Position

  5. By default, the legend appears on the right side of the chart as shown in Figures 1 and 2.
  6. From the menu bar, choose the Chart | Chart Options, as shown in Figure 3, below.

  7. Figure 3: Chart Options
  8. This step opens the Chart Options dialog box. Select the Legend tab, as you can see in Figure 4, below.

  9. Figure 4: Chart Options dialog box


  10. Here are some options you can choose from:
    1. To hide the legend altogether, deselect the Show legend check box. To enable it again, check this option if it is deselected.
    2. Within the Placement section, choose different locations for the legend.
  11. The preview area on the right displays the changes you make. Click the OK to get back to your edited chart.
  12. Now select the legend box in the chart, and choose the Format | Selected Legend option, as shown in Figure 5, below.

  13. Figure 5: Selected Legend
  14. This action brings up the Format Legend dialog box. Select the Patterns tab, and set the Border to None, as shown in Figure 6, above. Doing so sets your outline box around the legend to none. While you are here, you can also select the Font tab of this dialog box, shown in Figure 7, and change the size and font of your legend text. There's also a Placement tab, but options here are fewer than in the Chart Options dialog we explored earlier on this page.

  15. Figure 6: Patterns tab

  16. Figure 7: Font tab
  17. Click anywhere outside the chart to get back to the default PowerPoint interface.

See Also:

Chart Legend: Chart Legend (Glossary Page)

Chart Legend in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Chart Legend in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Chart Legend in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Chart Legend in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows