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: Changing Axis Tick Marks.

Changing Axis Tick Marks

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 11, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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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 Microsoft 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. ...

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What is three less than 9?

2022-01-17 10:50:42

Alessandro

Hello Allen,
in my scenario i deal with very odd values and to represente them properly I need to set the lenght of the axis to precise values.
In my example:
X axis: from -2,950 to 2,950
Y axis: from -385,000 to 385,000
Now I'd like to add units an I want something like
X units: 500
Y units: 50.000

I find that Excel sets the lables at -2950 then -2450 then 1950 and so on, so i dont have a unit point at Zero.
How can i tell Excel to always start counting units from Zero instead from the lowest limit?


2021-01-02 09:43:29

adrian

is it possible to change where the major tickmark starts? Say the min bound is 0, but I'd like to start the major axis crosses/tickmarks at 10 ?


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