How to Create an Excel Scatter Plot with Labels

Adding data labels to your Excel scatter plot allows viewers to see the exact values for each data point. This improves clarity and makes your charts easier to understand.

Learn step-by-step how to add data labels to scatter plots in Excel, both with and without the Macabacus add-in.


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Why Add Data Labels to Excel Scatter Plots?

Data labels show the value for each data point in your Excel scatter plot. You may have a scatter chart comparing company revenue vs. profit margin over the last 5 years. Without data labels, you just see an unlabeled dot for each data point, making your presentation confusing and more difficult to get your point across.

In this example, adding data labels lets you display the year right on each data point. This makes the chart much easier to interpret at a glance. Viewers can see which data point represents revenue and margin for each year. This allows you to “show not tell” the results in more situations.

Data labels are especially helpful on scatter plots with overlapping data points or many data points. They help differentiate each period clearly. One more example of this is a scatter chart comparing the EV/EBITDA multiples of many different comparable companies. Data labels let you display each company’s ticker symbol on their data point. This allows readers to quickly identify the valuation for each company on the chart.

Adding Data Labels in Excel Without Macabacus

Let’s look at how to add data labels to a scatter plot in regular Excel first. Here’s an example scatter chart with example data points that are labeled AAA, BBB, etc.

To add data labels, we’ll take the following steps:

Scatter Plot Chart Without Macabacus

  1. Select the chart.
  2. Under Chart Elements, select “Data Labels”.
  3. The labels denote the y-axis position instead of the helpful labels we want.
  4. So you’ll need to manually click into each text box to add your labels.

This adds the default data labels, displaying the y-axis value for each point. This works for a one-off chart, but can it become very tedious with more than a few data points!

Now it’s easy to identify each data point. However, an easier way is to click a few options in the Macabacus add-in to automate the process.

Adding Data Labels to Scatter Plot Charts with Macabacus

Macabacus Option X-Y Scatter Plot Chart Labels

  1. Select the chart
  2. Navigate to the Macabacus tab
  3. Click Charts > Data Labels > XY Scatter Labels

That’s it! Macabacus automatically detects the data labels and adds the correct information directly from your data. Take a look below.

How to Scatter Plot Data Labeling with Macabacus - Final Result

When to Use Macabacus for Excel Scatter Plot Data Labels

Manually adding data labels in regular Excel works fine for scatter plots with just a few data points. Now, if you have to create a scatter chart that has dozens or hundreds of points, the manual process becomes unrealistic and really inefficient. This is where Macabacus shines. It lets you instantly add data labels to large scatter plots with just a click.

You should also use Macabacus if you need to frequently update your scatter charts. It’s easy to reapply the XY scatter labels anytime your data changes.

Try Macabacus, free for 30-days, and explore scatter plot tools, along with dozens of other Excel charting productivity features.


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