How to Add Total Data Labels to the Excel Stacked Bar Chart

by Matthew Kuo on April 3, 2013

in Excel, Visual Design

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For stacked bar charts, Excel 2010 allows you to add data labels only to the individual components of the stacked bar chart.  The basic chart function does not allow you to add a total data label that accounts for the sum of the individual components.  Fortunately, creating these labels manually is a fairly simply process.

Stacked Total 0

Step 1: Create a sum of your stacked components and add it as an additional data series (this will distort your graph initially)

Stacked Total 1

Step 2: Right click the new data series and select “Change series Chart Type…”

Stacked Total 2

Step 3: Choose one of the simple line charts as your new Chart Type

Stacked Total 3

Stacked Total 4

Step 4: Right click your new line chart and select “Add Data Labels”

Stacked Total 5

Step 5: Right click your new data labels and format them so that their label position is “Above”; also make the labels bold and increase the font size

Stacked Total 6

Step 6: Right click the line, select “Format Data Series”; in the Line Color menu, select “No line”

Stacked Total 7

Step 7: Delete the “Total” data series label within the legend

Stacked Total 8

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan April 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm

simple and neat.


Matthew April 4, 2013 at 2:56 am

Thanks Daniel. 😉


Vicky December 2, 2014 at 6:41 am

Very informative. Thanks


Mark July 26, 2013 at 6:56 am

Elegant and well-explained. Thanks!


Curtis August 15, 2013 at 11:48 am

I like this a lot! Thanks for making it so clear. I’m also displaying a legend and I didn’t want to “Total” series showing up in the legend, so I right clicked on that legend item and chose Delete (not delete series). That removed it from the legend. 🙂


Chris September 20, 2013 at 11:54 am

Perfect – Thank you very much.


David October 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Thank you!


Stephen Campbell October 18, 2013 at 8:50 am

Thank you.


Leah October 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I used this to add Error Bars for the total amount in a stacked bar chart. Thanks for the help!


Helen November 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Read all your articles. Thank you so much for sharing these.


Emma November 22, 2013 at 4:44 am

Super! This was just what I was looking for! Thanks a lot!


Oscar December 4, 2013 at 6:52 am

Is it possible to add this total data labels to the Excel Stacked Bar Chart in 3-D? I tried following this process and didn’t work. I got a message that I can’t combine 2-D with 3-D charts, any suggestions how to show this totals in the Stacked Column in 3-D chart? Thanks


Brock March 13, 2014 at 8:02 am

I’m having the same issue. Were you able to find a solution?


Farida February 2, 2015 at 12:36 am

Hope you figured out the solution for this. You will have to change your graph to 2-D Bar Graph and then add the Line.


Alex Chernavsky January 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Very clever — thanks so much for this tip! I would have never thought of it myself.


KC January 24, 2014 at 4:30 am

thanks for the how-to. It’s exactly what i’m looking for.


Kishore April 25, 2014 at 1:18 am

Looked complex… but the way explained has made it very simple… kudos…. 🙂


EE May 6, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Great stuff, cheers.


Sam May 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Just add another series to the stack, make it equal the the total of the stack. Format it to be no fill and align data labels to the inside base


DK May 28, 2014 at 1:53 am

*bump* good post. In comparison to many other explanations that seek to do the same, but use invisible columns on top of the existing data instead of lines, this workaround comes with the advantage that the scale of your axis does not have to be adjusted (good if your numbers change regularly).


MN May 28, 2014 at 3:08 am

Thanks . Very helpful….


zahid_SWCC_Khobar June 7, 2014 at 2:48 am

Thanks. Within seconds I did it


Rich June 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Nice! Easy to follow and very neat. Thanks


Farida February 2, 2015 at 12:34 am

Awesome post. Thanks a ton. However we need to get the Chart customisation options differently in Access where i was struggling a bit.
Also i had a 3-D Stacked Bar graph and when i tried to add the Line, it dinot not allow me. I had to change my Bars to 2-D to make this work!


Luke February 13, 2015 at 1:15 am

Excel2013 does not seem to allow the GRAND TOTAL to appear in a STACKED BAR chart. Hence, the steps mentioned in this posting does not seem to work for this version of Excel2013.
If anyone have a solution to this (pls let it be simple of within Excel2013 features which I missed), appreciate the updated posting.


Krazycore May 27, 2015 at 2:11 am

I was questioning the same thing; however, I found a way!
1. Add a totals at the bottom of your data chart.
and you will see your stacked bars go crazy.
2. On your graph, click the top colored bar, and select them.
and follow from the step 2


Blourf February 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Thank you very much for sharing this information.


Avid Africa Watcher March 24, 2015 at 10:34 am

Technically, this is a stacked column chart, not a stacked bar chart.


Susana April 29, 2015 at 2:41 pm

Thank you so much!!! This helped me a lot! I did this using Excel 2013 and I basically followed the same steps. Thank you again.


Daniel May 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Thanks a lot! Elegant solution.


Pedro May 20, 2015 at 2:09 am

Thanks. This helped me a lot.


Chandana May 20, 2015 at 3:33 am

Nicely explained. Thanks a lot.


Shashikant May 25, 2015 at 5:44 am

Nice workaround the excel … simple and easy to understand !
Thank you 🙂


Krazycore May 27, 2015 at 1:54 am

I had a chance to visit this page by searching through google. I was stuck on making the Microsoft Powerpoint presentation because I didn’t know how to add the total number on top of those the stacked bars in my graph. I just want to point out that it was very helpful, and could finish my presentation quickly.

Thank you so much MATTHEW KUO for the information! You are awesome!


Anil July 1, 2015 at 10:14 am

Thank you..very useful information


Lora July 9, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Thanks so much! This was super helpful.


Maggie July 17, 2015 at 11:05 am

Thank you! I was looking for this


Bobalz July 21, 2015 at 7:07 am

Thank You!


Noman Ali August 1, 2015 at 2:19 am

Superb technique make my work so easier
what a creativity


Rochelle August 13, 2015 at 7:58 am

Wow, thank you so much!!!! I have been struggling with this for so long.


Darren Reynolds September 3, 2015 at 9:59 am

Thanks but your article title is drawing Google searches for a different question. Any chance you could change it? This is a stacked column chart but your title says it’s a stacked bar chart. Unfortunately this method doesn’t work for a stacked bar chart.


Miguel September 7, 2015 at 2:14 am

Hi there,

I’m experiencing a problem with this solution – if I have slicers on my graph and I select different filters that reduce the data set (specifically the fields that are contained in the Legend), the formatting of the total labels disappears. This is not usable from an end-user perspective. Any idea on how this can be solved / forced to keep the formatting?




Jon September 15, 2015 at 12:13 pm

I still can’t believe that Microsoft hasn’t fixed Office 2013 to allow you to just add a total to a stacked column chart. This solution works, but doesn’t look nearly as nice as a 3-D stacked column chart would. Also, some of the labels for the totals fall right on top the other column labels and therefore makes both of them unreadable.


rajanikanth October 7, 2015 at 7:59 pm

You made my day. Thank you very much for sharing useful and detailed steps.


Mary Beth December 18, 2015 at 11:56 am

Great tip! I was doing this by including the total as an additional stack bar but this distorted the axis range if using in a dashboard with slicers. Thanks!


dan April 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Yep, that’s a great time saver and very easy to create polished stacked columns w/totals. I’m a huge Excel geek and had no idea you could delete the line series so easily. I spent a few minutes building my mobile and then saved it as a template – will be a huge time saver. Thanks!


Steve April 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm

This is very simple and instructive – but this is a Column Chart (vertical) – not a Bar Chart (horizonal). I tried the same apporach with a Bar Chart (horizontal) and it is not the same/will not work the same way.
Is there a similar approach to doing this with a horizontal Bar Chart (rather than with a vertical column chart)?


Bijoy M May 31, 2016 at 12:34 am

Hi, Thank you for the information. I face a small issue while following the step by step procedure. When I change the chart type as in Step 3, all the other stacks/data series turn to line as well.

Is there a fix for this?

Thank you.



Walter Whitman Moore July 7, 2016 at 11:59 am

This is GREAT! Thank you!


Guillaume July 19, 2016 at 6:34 am

how to do it if you got sub-section on the horizontal axis.


Rogerio September 12, 2016 at 5:38 am

Thanks a lot!


Mam September 29, 2016 at 12:22 am

Thanks.. but it is not happening with stacked cone. can you please help.


Taha Hafiz October 31, 2016 at 6:43 am

Thank you so so much. You are amazing.


Ayrton January 26, 2017 at 4:51 am

Thank you very much for sharing with us this great solution! Very helpful.


Susan February 3, 2017 at 9:26 am

Is there a way to add totals to the right of a true stacked bar chart (you’ve provided instructions for a column chart.) I can’t seem to change reverse the axis for the line (totals) series. My total are ending up at the top of the chart as opposed to the right. Thank you!


Caroline Shaw February 7, 2017 at 12:34 am

This was the first page I looked at when searching for help, it was well explained and I love the simplicity of the screen shots to guide me through. Worked first time and made me look very competent to my boss!!


megan May 10, 2017 at 8:03 am

Easy to follow and saved me from talking to the coworker that overcomplicates things to make it seem like he’s smarter than everyone.


Jennifer February 12, 2018 at 7:50 am

Complete genius! Thanks you so very much!!


Ross (Microsoft) January 21, 2019 at 9:48 am

Very helpful–just what I needed for my Defect Trend report.


Well Wisher April 23, 2020 at 1:17 pm

Thank you Very Much


V April 29, 2020 at 11:33 pm

Thank you so much!


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