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: Controlling Chart Gridlines.

Controlling Chart Gridlines

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 15, 2020)

8

When you create a chart from your data, Excel automatically takes care of many of the actual details related to how a specific chart appears. One of the elements that can be included on many of the charts is gridlines. Gridlines are helpful for easily determining the height or width of graphic elements used in your chart.

Excel allows you to specifically control which gridlines are displayed or if any are displayed at all. You can do so by following these steps if you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010:

  1. Select the chart by clicking on it. You should see selection handles appear around the outside of the chart.
  2. Make sure that the Layout tab of the ribbon is displayed. (This tab is only visible when you've selected the chart in step 1.)
  3. Click the Gridlines tool in the Axes group. You'll see a drop-down menu appear with various options.
  4. Use the Primary Horizontal Gridlines option or the Primary Vertical Gridlines option to make changes to the gridlines, as desired.

You can't use the above steps in later versions of Excel because Microsoft decided, in their wisdom, to remove the Layout tab entirely. Instead, you can control the gridlines by following these steps:

  1. Select the chart by clicking on it. You should see selection handles appear around the outside of the chart.
  2. Make sure that the Format tab of the ribbon is displayed. (This tab is only visible when you've selected the chart in step 1.)
  3. In the Current Selection group, use the drop-down list to choose the gridlines you want to control.
  4. Click the Format Selection tool, also within the Current Selection group. Excel displays a Format task pane at the right side of the program window.
  5. Use the controls in the task pane to make changes to the gridlines, as desired.
  6. Close the task pane.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9902) 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: Controlling Chart Gridlines.

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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Comments

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What is three less than 3?

2019-12-30 12:07:03

Gregg

Strange, I'm not seeing the layout tab in the ribbon when I click on a chart in Excel 2010. When I click on the tab only "Table Tools: Design" appears, but there doesn't seem to be an option for "Axis". Any thoughts?


2017-05-23 23:28:29

Eric Soergel

My horizontal gridlines are double spaced in Excel 2016. How do I remedy this?


2016-08-28 22:38:49

Ken Pare

My horizontal grid lines are double spaced (Excel 2016). How do I remedy this please?


2016-01-28 06:28:13

carlo

Just wanted to thank you for this tip, it saved me a lot of time and grief.


2015-10-21 12:53:57

Luprec

Is there a way to control which major gridlines appear? My X axis is dates. I want to only display the gridline on one day of the week (EG Monday only) is this even possible?


2015-10-13 13:30:59

P B

Solution for xl 2010 doesn't work - groups and dropdown lists don't list minor gridlines


2015-08-12 12:38:28

Gary W

In Excel 2013 to show every other grid line go to Chart Elements, Axes, More Options, Format Axis, Tick Marks, Major Type = Inside or Outside, Interval between tick marks = 2


2015-04-21 10:57:02

Bill Hull

I want to find out how to control horizontal axis gridline period (placement). I don't see that as an option.

Also I thought you used to be able to select the max and min for the horizontal axis and I can't do that now either.


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