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UN 2.3  UNIFY the Position of Legends and Labels

A standardized notation of legends and labels will improve legibility and speed up comprehension of charts.

   
 

Legends

Legends (also called “data series labels”) identify data series.

If possible, integrate legends into charts, not positioned externally. Write legends horizontally for better legibility.

 

Legends for single column charts and single bar charts are best integrated into the title.

   

In stacked column charts, position legends either to the left of the leftmost column or to the right of the rightmost column.

   

Center legends of stacked bar charts above the top bar.

 

   

Assisting lines can help to assign the legends to the correct visualization elements.

In grouped column charts and grouped bar charts, assisting lines can also help to assign the legends to the correct visualization elements.

   

In line charts, position legends either to the right of the line end or close to the course of the line.

   

For charts with two value axes, externally positioned legends next to symbols can be a good choice. When helpful, integrate these legends into the chart by positioning them next to typical points or bubbles.

 

 

   
 

Labels

Labels (more precise: data labels) assign the data values to the respective visualization elements.

 

Omit labels of small visualization elements, use labels with not more than three digits, and avoid unnecessary and distracting labels (see also SIMPLIFY rules SI 5  "Avoid distracting details").

 

Write labels horizontally for better legibility.

 

If possible, position labels next to their visualization elements. If this is not possible, use lines connecting the labels to the correct visualization elements.

   

 

In charts with horizontal category axes, position labels above or below the visualization elements. In stacked columns, either center labels in the data points (if the data points are large enough) or position them outside of the data points.
   

In charts with vertical category axes, position labels right or left of the visualization elements. In stacked bars, either center the labels in the data points (if the data points are large enough) or position them outside of the data points.

 

   

In charts with two value axes, postion labels next to the visualization elements (above or below, right or left). Large bubble visualization elements labels can also have centered labels.

 

   
   
   
   

 

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