How can I format individual data points in Google Sheets charts?

In this article, you’ll see how to annotate your Google charts, by adding formatting and data labels to specific data points only.

Formatting specific datapoints or adding data labels are a very powerful way of adding context to your charts, to bring attention to certain data points and add additional explanation.

How to add formatting to individual data points only?

Custom formatting for individual points is available through the chart sidebar: Chart Editor > CUSTOMIZE > Series > FORMAT DATA POINTS

Chart Editor format series

When you click on the FORMAT DATA POINT button, you’re prompted to choose which data point you want to format (what you see here will depend on your chart):

format individual datapoint in google charts

This data point is added under the Series menu in the Chart Editor sidebar, so you can specify unique formatting. For example, I’ve formatted the largest revenue month in red in the following chart:

single datapoint formatted

It’s possible to add multiple data points to be formatted (and each can be uniquely formatted):

multiple datapoints formatted

Note, custom formatting can be applied to individual data points by right clicking them from within the chart:

right click format datapoint

How to add labels to specific data points only?

In the example below, 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.

Data labels on specific data points

Let’s start with this dataset:

Basic chart data

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:

Chart data labels in chart tool

So, we need an alternate approach.

Annotation columns

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:

Chart annotation columns in Google Sheets

then the chart tool will interpret those annotations and add them to the correct points on your chart:

Annotated chart in Google Sheets

Note, you’re not restricted to text in these annotation columns. In this example the formulas in columns C and E are respectively:

=B5&" sales"

and

="End of day 1: "&D5&" sales"

Can I see an example worksheet?

Yes, here you go.

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.

Data labels on last data point

The dataset to create this effect is as follows:

Dataset for annotated chart in Google Sheets

17 thoughts on “How can I format individual data points in Google Sheets charts?”

  1. Thanks Ben – very handy.

    Just wondering how you get managed to have the annotation as callouts (i.e. with little lines linking to data point)?

    Can’t for the life of me see where to adjust this under ‘Edit chart’

    Cheers,
    Luke

    1. Hey Luke,

      These are added automatically by the Google Chart tool, so not something that I have any control over. They’re actually extremely faint, almost invisible, in the new chart tool. (This post was written before the new chart editor was released.)

      When you add data labels, you specify them as Custom under the Type option.

      Cheers,
      Ben

  2. How do you remove the “Annotated….” column name from the legend (as in your ‘Year on Year Sales Comparison’ chart)?

  3. Thank you, This is exactly what i’m trying to do. Unfortunately, any form of character won’t show on the charts. Numbers and only numbers works fine. I just realise that numbers won’t show unless there is more boxes with numbers than boxes with other character. Do you know why ?

  4. Hi – this is really helpful, thank you!
    When I add the data label under series I only get two options: ‘Value’ and ‘None’. There’s no ‘Custom’ option – did that option appear for you automatically? Or did you configure it?
    Thanks!

  5. Go to “DATA” -> “SERIES” -> right-click on the series of data you want to add labels and select “ADD LABEL.”

    After you select your annotation column you will see a new, indented series under the main series called “Label:”

  6. Hi Ben,

    I’m attempting to do this, however ‘Format Data Point’ isn’t even an option appearing for me that I can select, within google sheets. I must be doing something wrong here. I’ve selected the line specifically, tried it in various browsers, but nothing. Do you know if something changed within Google Sheets by chance?

    1. Hi Jay,

      Can you see “FORMAT DATA POINT” in the Chart Editor sidebar, under the Series menu?

      Are you based in the US or elsewhere in the world? My guess is that if you can’t see it at all, then it hasn’t rolled out to everyone yet.

      Hopefully you’ll get it soon!

      Ben

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *