How to change the order of your chart legend

1 minute read time.

In an Excel chart, the series is in a particular order, and the legend entries are listed in their own particular order based on certain criteria. 

Sometimes, there's a need to move the series within a chart or within a legend. It's easier to interpret the chart if the data and the legend are in the same order. 

As seen below, one would expect to see the bars in the same order as the data, i.e. Red, Grey, Green, Blue.

Swapping the legend so that the bars and the data are in the same order helps with the interpretation of the chart. In this tip, we help you get this done. 

You're welcome to download the workbook to practice. 

Step 1: To reorder the bars, click on the chart and select Chart Tools. Under the Data section, click Select Data.

Step 2: In the Select Data Source pop up, under the Legend Entries section, select the item to be reallocated and, using the up or down arrow on the top right, reposition the items in the desired order. 

In our example, we're going to move the red bar to the top of the list so that it appears first in our chart, and then rearrange each item until they represent the order of the data.

Step 3: Select Red and click the up arrow until it is in the first position.

As you click the up arrow, you will notice that the bar in the chart is changing position on each click. 

Select each colour and move it to position the bar in the required order.