Change a chart category axis

Because a category (x) axis displays text labels instead of numerical intervals, there are fewer scaling options that you can change than there are for a value (y) axis. You can, however, change where the two axes cross, how many categories you want to display between tick marks, and in which order you want to display categories.

  1. In a chart sheet (chart sheet: A sheet in a workbook that contains only a chart. A chart sheet is beneficial when you want to view a chart or a PivotChart report separately from worksheet data or a PivotTable report.) or an embedded chart (embedded chart: A chart that is placed on a worksheet rather than on a separate chart sheet. Embedded charts are beneficial when you want to view or print a chart or a PivotChart report with its source data or other information in a worksheet.), click the category (x) axis (axis: A line bordering the chart plot area used as a frame of reference for measurement. The y axis is usually the vertical axis and contains data. The x-axis is usually the horizontal axis and contains categories.) that you want to change.

ShowHow to select an axis

  1. Click the chart sheet or the embedded chart.
  2. On the Chart toolbar, click the arrow next to the Chart Objects box, and then click Category Axis or Value Axis.

 Tip   If you don't see the Chart toolbar, point to Toolbars on the View menu, and then select Chart. The Chart Objects box is available unless the toolbar has been anchored on the left or right side of the screen.

  1. On the Format menu, click Selected Axis.

 Note   The Selected Axis command is only available when a chart axis is selected.

  1. On the Scale tab, do one or more of the following:

 Important   The following scaling options are only available when a category (x) axis is selected. The Scale tab provides different options for a value (y) axis.

 Note   If the Value (Y) axis crosses between categories box is selected, data points are plotted between tick marks (tick marks and tick-mark labels: Tick marks are small lines of measurement, similar to divisions on a ruler, that intersect an axis. Tick-mark labels identify the categories, values, or series in the chart.); if this box is cleared, points are plotted at the tick-mark positions.

  • To specify that the value (y) axis cross the category (x) axis after the last category on the x-axis, select the Value (Y) axis crosses at maximum category box.

 Note   This option overrides the Value (Y) axis crosses at category number value.

  • To specify the frequency at which you want categories on the category (x) axis to be labeled, in the Number of categories between tick-mark labels box, type 1 to label every category, type 2 to label every other category, type 3 to label every third category, and so on.
  • To specify the number of categories that you want between each pair of tick marks on the category (x) axis, in the Number of categories between tick marks box, type the number that you want.

 Note   When you have more than one line of category axis labels or when you are working with a 3-D chart, you cannot change where the value (y) axis crosses between categories.

  • To reverse the order of the values on the selected axis, select the Categories in reverse order check box.
Applies to:
Excel 2003