Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Modifying Axis Scale Labels.

Modifying Axis Scale Labels

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 22, 2014)

It is very common for charts to use some sort of "shorthand" for values placed along an axis. For instance, if the values along an axis ranged from 0 to 80,000, you may want to have only the thousands portion of each value displayed on the axis. That way, instead of 20,000, 40,000, 60,000, and 80,000, you would see 20, 40, 60, and 80 along the axis. A note could then be made in a label that indicates the axis values are displayed in thousands.

You can very easily change the axis scale by simply modifying how the values on the axis are displayed. Follow these steps:

  1. Create your chart as you normally would.
  2. Double-click the axis you want to scale. You should see the Format Axis dialog box (Excel 2007 and Excel 2010) or the Format Axis pane (Excel 2013). If double-clicking doesn't work, right-click the axis and choose Format Axis from the resulting Context menu. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Format Axis pane.

  4. If you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010, click Axis Options at the left of the dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Axis Options tab of the Format Axis dialog box.

  6. Using the Display Units drop-down list, choose Thousands.
  7. Click OK.

Excel changes the axis values so only the thousands portion is displayed and inserts a label saying Thousands. Double-click on the Thousands label to edit the label, as desired, then drag it to any desired position.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9485) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Modifying Axis Scale Labels.

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

Hyperlinks that Open in a Different Browser Window

When you click a link in a browser, the target of that link might open in the same window or in a new window. Getting an ...

Discover More

Drawing a Table

There are several ways you can create tables in a document, but one of the most unique (and perhaps most fun) is to simply ...

Discover More

Automatic Font Color Won't Print Properly

Imagine that you go to print your document and all the text you can see on the screen just isn't there on the ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Hyperlinks to Charts

You can create hyperlinks to all sorts of worksheets in a workbook, but you cannot create a hyperlink to a chart sheet. This ...

Discover More

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

Outside End Data Label for a Column Chart

It can be frustrating when Excel doesn't display the formatting options that you know it should for your charts. This tip ...

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. 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 9 + 4?

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.