Excel Axis Scale (Change Scale, X and Y-Axis Values)

Let’s use a dataset that contains information about annual rainfall for a decade and converts that into a column chart to demonstrate how to scale and change the axes.

Excel Axis Scale

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How to Change the Axis Scale in Excel?

We have created a column chart from the following dataset.

Excel Axis Scale

We can see that the Y axis starts at 0 and ends at 1400. On this scale, the differences between years are not very apparent.

If we change the scale of the Y axis in such a way that the starting point of the Y axis is higher, then the differences will be more obvious, and we can interpret the graphs quickly.

Method 1 – Changing Axis Scale Manually via the Format Axis Menu

  • Click on the axis whose scale you want to change, then right-click on it.
  • Choose Format Axis from the context menu.

Opening Format Axis Menu

  • As a result, the Format Axis menu will be displayed on the right side.
  • Click on Axis Options.
  • Change the Maximum and Minimum bounds of the axis. We set the Minimum bound to 500 as the data points start at 630.

Changing Minimum and Maximum Bounds of Axis Scale

  • The Y axis is rescaled, and it looks like this:

Manually Scaled Axis in Excel Chart

Method 2 – Changing Axis Scale Automatically

  • Go to the Format Axis menu again as mentioned above.
  • Click on Auto on the Maximum and Minimum bounds.

Automatically Scaling Axis Scale

  • The scale of the axis will be automatically set up by Excel.

Result of Changing Excel Axis Scale Automatically

Method 3 – Changing Axis Scale to Logarithmic Scale

Consider the dataset and chart where the growth of bacteria in a cultured medium is shown. As bacterial growth rate is an exponential function the number of bacteria will have a very large range. The lower data points are, therefore, almost invisible in the normally scaled Y-axis.

Dataset for Changing Scale to Logarithmic Scale

  • Similar to the first example, open the Axis Format menu.
  • Check the Logarithmic scale option.

Setting Logarithmic Scale to Selected Axis

  • You can easily view all the data points in a proper manner.

Logarithmic Scaled Axis

How to Change the X-Axis Values in Excel?

  • Select the X-axis on the chart, then right-click.
  • From the context menu, select the “Select Data” option.

Opening Select Data Option from the Context Menu

  • Click on the Edit option from the Horizontal Axis Labels.

Clicking on Edit on Horizontal Axis Labels

  • Select the new range of data points and click OK.

Changing X Axis Label Range

  • Click OK again on the Select Data Source window.

Clicking Ok to confirm Changes in X-Axis Data

  • The X-axis range has changed.

Modified Chart with New X Axis Data Points

How to Change Y-Axis Values in Excel?

  • Select the Y-axis on the chart and right-click.
  • Click on the Select Data option from the context menu.

Selecting Select Data Option From the Context Menu

  • The Select Data Source window will open up.
  • Click on the Edit option from the Legend Entries (Series).

Clicking on Edit on Legend Entries

  • The Edit Series window will open up.
  • Select the new range for the Series name and Series values and then click OK.

Editing Series of Y-Axis

  • Click on OK in the Select Data Source window to confirm the change.

Clicking Ok to confirm Changes in Y Axis Data

  • The data points of the Y-axis will change as expected.

Modified Chart with Nex Y Axis Data Points

Things to Remember

  • You can also access the Format Axis menu by first selecting the axis and going to the Format tab and selecting Format Selection.
  • You can add different elements to the chart (Axis titles, Data labels, etc.) to further beautify the chart.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I switch between a linear and logarithmic axis scale in Excel?

You can click on the Logarithmic Scale in the Format Axis menu to switch the axis scale to a log scale with the desired base.

2. Can I change axis values on an existing chart in Excel?

Yes, you can change axes values using the Select Data Source menu.

3. Can I switch the axis in the Excel chart?

You can switch axes using the same Select Data Source menu.

Excel Axis Scale: Knowledge Hub

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Aniruddah Alam
Aniruddah Alam

Md. Aniruddah Alam, a graduate of Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Dhaka, holds a BSc.Engg in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering. Joining Softeko in August 2022 as an Excel and VBA content developer, he has authored 90+ articles, covering fundamental to advanced Excel topics. He actively develops VBA codes for Excel automation and offers solutions in the Exceldemy Forum. Beyond work, he finds leisure in reading books, and taking relaxing walks, showcasing well-rounded blend of professional and... Read Full Bio

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