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: Creating a Log/Log Chart.

Creating a Log/Log Chart

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 30, 2020)

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 apparent. 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 Chart Design (Design in earlier versions of Excel) 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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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. ...

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