Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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: Changing Axis Tick Marks.

Changing Axis Tick Marks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 17, 2020)

2

If you use an Excel chart type that uses axes, you may have noticed the presence of "tick marks" on one or all of the axes. Tick marks are used to indicate a major or minor demarcation along an axis. For instance, if you have an axis that ranges from 0 to 1000, there may be major tick marks at every 100 in the range, and minor tick marks at every 50.

Excel normally sets up the tick marks for you, but you can change the way they appear by following these steps if you are using Excel 2013 or a later version:

  1. Right-click on the axis whose tick marks 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.
  3. Make sure the Axis Options tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Axis Options tab of the Format Axis task pane.

  5. To the right of Major Unit, specify a multiple at which you want the major tick marks to appear.
  6. To the right of Minor Unit, specify a multiple at which you want the minor tick marks to appear.
  7. Click on OK.

The steps in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010 are largely identical, except that you end up working with the Format Axis dialog box instead of the Format Axis task pane. The only difference is that you need to click Fixed before specifying a multiple in Steps 4 and 5.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6211) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing Axis Tick Marks.

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

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Nothing beats a screen shot when you are trying to convey information about using the computer. With just a couple of ...

Discover More

Comments in Headers and Footers

Comments can be a necessity when developing documents in conjunction with other people. They can be used to help document ...

Discover More

Selecting a Paper Source

When you print a worksheet, you may want to specify that the printout be done on a particular paper tray in a particular ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Positive and Negative Colors in a Chart

When creating a line cart, the line can show values both positive and negative values. This tip explains how you can use ...

Discover More

Locking Callouts to a Graph Location

If you add callouts using the drawing tools in Excel, you may have noticed that they don't always stay where you expect ...

Discover More

Smoothing Out Data Series

One way you can make your charts look more understandable is by removing the "jaggies" that are inherent to line charts. ...

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}] 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 2 + 4?

2016-04-25 19:22:53

Elmarie Kaufman

I have a file of 43K+ lines of data (electric usage by qtr hour) and have created a “month” designation in a column to the right of the data – with just one entry corresponding to the first line of data on the first day of each month. I am able to graph this data with the month labels presenting correctly if I designate the line numbers, but in a dynamic chart, although they will appear, they are not aligned to the data. All the month labels are jammed up on the left side of the xaxis (occupying perhaps a quarter of the xaxis length) while the rest of the axis is unlabeled. I have checked the dynamic axis label definition and it shows correctly when clicked on in the edit – but they just won’t display correctly on the graph. What is wrong? - See more at: http://ksrowell.com/blog-visualizing-data/2011/10/03/aligning-labels-with-tick-marks/#comment-13482


2016-01-29 09:01:14

J59

Dear Allen,

I have a question which also concerns the tick marks in my graph. I have multi-category labels in my graph, but when I plot the graph the bars that are generated are not aligned in the middle of the associated term. It seems Excel distributes all bars along some kind of gradient. This results in the most left category with a bar on the left, the bar slowly moving to the middle in the middle of the graph and ending up on the right side at the last category (on my right hand). I can't find anywhere on how to align the bars properly so they are evenly distributed (exactly above their term). Could you help me out? Kind Regards,

Tim


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.