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: Creating a Log/Log Chart.

Creating a Log/Log Chart

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 28, 2015)

Excel is great at automatically creating a wide variety of charts, lickety split. For some types of data, you may want to create a chart that is not readily apparently. Such is the case with a log/log chart.

The answer to this conundrum is to change which type of chart you use for your data. It seems that Excel will not allow the X axis to use a logarithmic scale for many types of charts. To specify a chart where you can use logarithmic scales on both axes, follow these steps:

  1. Select the chart area.
  2. Make sure the Design tab of the ribbon is visible. (This tab is only available if you select the chart area, as instructed in step 1.)
  3. Click the Change Chart Type tool in the Type group. Excel displays a palette of available chart types.
  4. Select the XY (scatter) type of chart.
  5. Select the sub-chart type you want to use.
  6. Click on the OK button.

If, for some strange reason, values along the X axis are still not represented in logarithmic scale, you can click on the X axis, choose to format it, and then specify a logarithmic scale.

You should note that this solution will work for many types of charts, but won't work for charts where you need to plot zero or negative values. (Those values don't have a LOG value.)

So why do you need to use a scatter chart for log/log data? Because it is the only type of chart that allows numeric values along the X axis. Other chart types use the X axis for categories of information, not numeric values.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10316) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating a Log/Log Chart.

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

Mixing Column Formats On a Page

Want to switch the number of columns used for your text, in the middle of a page? You can do this very easily by following ...

Discover More

Closing a Read-Only Workbook

When you create a workbook that is read-only, users can still make changes to the workbook. When they exit, they are prompted ...

Discover More

Fonts Unavailable in Word

If you have some fonts that don't show up as available in Word, their exclusion can be confusing. Here's a discussion of why ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

RGB Values for Automatic Colors

When you create a chart, Excel automatically assigns different colors to the various data series in the chart. At some point ...

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 yell ...

Discover More

Identifying Scatter Plot Points

Do you want to add data labels to the data points in an xy graph? Excel doesn't provide a way to get the desired labels, but ...

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 6 + 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.