The standard Excel/PowerPoint legends for data charts are hard to decipher:
- They are written in a small font
- They rely on colours that the reader needs to match up with the corresponding data series
- They are positioned away from the actual data
I usually switch off the legends and make them by hand. What I lose in automation, I gain in clarity. See in the example slide below:
- I put the legend in big text to the right of a column chart (the last year is usually the most relevant for the audience)
- Instead of color, I use the order of the legends to match them with the data. The color is received for highlighting a data series that is particularly important. This is easier on the eye, less clutter.