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

Synchronized Workbook and Worksheet Names

When you work on older workbooks in Excel, you may notice that the name of the worksheet tab and the workbook itself are ...

Discover More

Changing the Ribbon Font Size

Changing the size at which your document is displayed is easy. What, though, of the elements that make up the Word ...

Discover More

Slash Key No Longer Works as Expected

Press the slash key and Excel may display a series of keyboard commands near the ribbon. If this behavior drives you ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Adding Data Labels to Your Chart

Adding labels to a chart can make the information presented in the chart more understandable. Excel allows you to add ...

Discover More

Unwanted Weekend Dates in Chart

If you chart data that includes dates along one of the axes, you might be surprised to find out that the chart includes ...

Discover More

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. ...

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 five more than 8?

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.