How to Scale Time on X Axis in Excel Chart (3 Quick Methods)

Generally, if you use a Line Chart, it works fine. Let’s have a look at the following picture.

excel chart x axis time scale

If we create a Scatter Chart based on this dataset, you may find the chart inconvenient. The axis starts from the zero hour (12:00 AM or 0:00) and there are some unnecessary gaps in the chart.

This becomes more inconvenient if the dataset contains more time values.

We will show you how to get rid of this problem.

Method 1 – Scaling the Time in the X-Axis in an Excel Chart


  • Select the data range (B4:C20) and then go to Insert, then Chart, and select Scatter Chart.

Scaling Time in X Axis in an Excel Chart

  • Click on the plus icon of the chart, go to Axes and choose More Options.

  • The Format Axis window will appear. Insert the values like the following image.

In the Bounds section, the Maximum value represents 24 hours which is 1 unit. So, 1 hour becomes 1/24 = 0.04167 units. As the time data here starts at around 18:30, the minimum value becomes 18.5*0.04176 = 0.75.

That’s why we set the Minimum Bound value to 0.75 and the Maximum Bound value to 1.0. As 1 hour equals 0.04167 units, we set Major Unit to this value. The Minor Unit value becomes 0.008334 automatically by default.

The Scatter Chart looks more convenient and easily understandable.

Scaling Time in X Axis in an Excel Chart

Read More: How to Change X Axis Scale in Excel

Method 2 – Scaling the Time in X-Axis by the Date in an Excel Chart


  • Select the data and go to Insert, then to Chart, and choose Line Chart.

Scaling Time in X Axis by Date in Excel Chart

  • You will see that there is a vertical line on the date 9th September although this date has two different data points. Click on the plus icon of the chart and select Axes, then More Options.

  • Change the Axis Type to the Text axis.

  • You will see that the chart shows different data for 9th September.

Scaling Time in X Axis by Date in Excel Chart

Method 3 – Changing the Number Format


  • Create a Line Chart following the process of Method 2.
  • Change the format of the Date column to Number from the Number group of the Home Tab. You need to select the range B5:B12 and then click on the drop down icon of the Number group and select the General or Number option.

Changing the Number Format

  • You will see separate data for 9th September. But, you may find it inconvenient, as the date on the horizontal axis is turned into numbers.

  • Click on the plus icon of the chart and select Axes, then uncheck Primary Horizontal.

  • This will remove the horizontal labels and gives you a better view of the chart.

Changing the Number Format

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Meraz Al Nahian
Meraz Al Nahian

Md. Meraz Al Nahian has worked with the ExcelDemy project for over 1.5 years. He wrote 140+ articles for ExcelDemy. He also solved a lot of user problems and worked on dashboards. He is interested in data analysis, advanced Excel, statistics, and dashboards. He also likes to explore various Excel and VBA applications. He completed his graduation in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). He enjoys exploring Excel-related features to gain efficiency... Read Full Bio

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