Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Formatting Axis Patterns.

Formatting Axis Patterns

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 2, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Most people who create charts with Excel don't know that you can change just about everything that controls how the chart appears. One of the things you can easily change is the pattern used to denote a chart's axis. By default, Excel normally uses a solid line for an axis. If you want to change the pattern used by Excel, follow these steps if you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010:

  1. Right-click on the axis whose pattern you want to change. Excel displays a Context menu for the axis.
  2. Choose Format Axis from the Context menu. (If there is no Format Axis choice, then you did not right-click on an axis in step 1.) Excel displays the Format Axis dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Format Axis dialog box.

  4. Use the Fill selection to specify how the axis should be filled (including its pattern, if selected).
  5. Use the Line Style selection to specify how the axis line should look.
  6. Use the Line Color selection to select a color for the axis.
  7. Click on OK.

If you are using Excel 2013 or a later version, then the steps are slightly different:

  1. Right-click on the axis whose pattern you want to change. Excel displays a Context menu for the axis.
  2. Choose Format Axis from the Context menu. (If there is no Format Axis choice, then you did not right-click on an axis in step 1.) Excel displays the Format Axis task pane at the right side of the program window.
  3. Click the Fill & Line icon—it looks like a paint bucket. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Format Axis task pane.

  5. Expand the Fill options to specify how the axis should be filled (including its pattern, if selected).
  6. Expand the Line options to specify how the axis line should look.
  7. Close the task pane when done.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6134) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Formatting Axis Patterns.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Previous Column Values in a Drop-Down List

Want a quick way to add non-unique values into a column? You probably know you can do this by starting to simply type in ...

Discover More

Removing Items from a Context Menu

Context menus appear when you right-click an item in Excel. If you want to modify the menu that appears, the way to do so ...

Discover More

Using an En Dash, by Default

In publishing, it is common practice to indicate a range of numbers by using an en dash between the first number and the ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Showing Elapsed Time in a Graph

Working with elapsed times can be a bit tricky in some situations. One such situation involves the displaying of elapsed ...

Discover More

Modifying Axis Scale Labels

You want your chart to display information as clearly and succinctly as possible. Modifying the labels used to indicate ...

Discover More

Make that Chart Quickly!

Need to generate a chart in the fastest possible way? Just use this shortcut key and you'll have one faster than you can ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.