Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Using Dynamic Chart Titles.

Using Dynamic Chart Titles

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 8, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


There is a very cool way, apparently not well known, of adding 'active' or 'live' titles and other text to charts. In this way you can make a change in a worksheet and have that change reflected in a title in the chart. Follow these steps:

  1. Create your chart as you normally would.
  2. Add whatever titles, datapoints, axis names, etc. are desired.
  3. Select the title you want to modify. Small handles should appear around the title.
  4. In the Formula bar enter the address of the cell you want to use for the title. (Make sure the address includes the sheet name with it.) For instance, if the title is in cell A1 of the MySheet worksheet, you would enter the following in the formula bar:

That's it. Now, whenever the contents of A1 are changed Excel updates the information in the chart's title.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9701) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using Dynamic Chart Titles.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 2 + 5?

2020-08-10 18:41:03


To elaborate on Allen's tip and Dave's suggestion, since Excel only allows a simple "=" pointing to a single cell, you need to get creative in the referenced cell.

[sorry about the duplicates from trying to decipher how to insert an image]

My formulas (hidden behind the graph as Dave suggested) typically use concatenation. For example, by using a couple of helper cells (LargestDate whose formula is =Large(Date,1) and FifthLargestDate whose formula is =Large(Date,5), both also hidden behind the chart), this formula ...

="Daily Volumes (averaging "&AVERAGEIFS(Amount,Date,"<="&LargestDate,Date,">="&FifthLargestDate)&" over the most recent 5 days)"

will produce a dynamic Chart Title (or Axis Name, etc.) that reads like this,

Daily Volumes (averaging 22.6 over the most recent 5 days)

Like Dave, my charts will often contain many expressive chart elements.

Along the same lines, I will add a text box in the chart to create a more expressive "Legend". One big advantage of using a text box within a chart is that you can tailor it extensively (e.g., right clicking on some or all the text to add bullets, condense the line spacing using Paragraph formatting, etc.

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 

2020-08-10 11:13:59


I often skip using Excel's chart and axis titles.

Instead, I use the cells under the chart for these titles.

Why? For more flexibility. I can format the cells any way I want, including coloring some font characters, adding subtitles and all that stuff.

I sometimes even do that for the category axis titles of bar charts. For horizontal bar charts, I use one row for each horizontal bar. For vertical bar charts, I use one column for each vertical bar. It sometimes takes a bit of fiddling, so I save this technique for only where it adds value.

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