In this article, you’ll see how to annotate your Google charts, by adding data labels to only specific data points:
Data labels are a very powerful way of adding context to your charts, to bring attention to certain data points and add additional explanation.
In the example above, I used data labels to clearly indicate the sales figures for the end of each day, during a 3-day digital flash sale, which helped the client easily see their performance.
The embedded charts tool in Google Sheets has pretty basic implementation of data labels compared to Excel or Tableau. However, it’s still possible to achieve with a workaround.
How do I annotate my chart in Google Sheets with specific data points only?
Let’s start with this dataset:
which records the number of products sold during a 3-day sale.
If you plot a default line chart and add data labels in the Chart Editor, you’ll notice you have no choice of their placement; it’s all or nothing, as shown in this image:
So, we need an alternate approach.
The trick is to create annotation columns in the dataset that only contain the data labels we want, and then get the chart tool to plot these on our chart.
Add annotations in new columns next to the datapoint you want to add it to, and the chart tool will do the rest. So if you set up your dataset like this:
then the chart tool will interpret those annotations and add them to the correct points on your chart:
Note, you’re not restricted to text in these annotation columns. In this example the formulas in columns C and E are respectively:
="End of day 1: "&D5&" sales"
Can I see an example worksheet?
How do I add data labels to only the last datapoint of my series in Google Sheets?
Using exactly the same technique as illustrated above, you can label the last points of your series. You can do this instead of a legend and, in many cases, it can make your charts easier to read, as your viewer’s eye doesn’t need to scan back and forth between the series lines and the legend.
The dataset to create this effect is as follows: