Format Axis in Excel (All Types of Personalization)

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Are you looking for ways to format the axis in Excel? If yes, you just have landed in the right place.

In this article, we will discuss every possible way you can format the axis in Excel with proper examples and illustrations.

We are also providing a free copy of the Excel worksheet. Make sure to download and start practicing.

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Format Axis in Excel: 7 Different Modifications

To learn how to format the axis, we will be using the dataset of various products and their monthly sales. We have already created a graph as shown in the picture below.  In the next session, we will format the axis of this chart. Make sure to go through the whole article to learn more.

Dataset and Charts

1. Change Display of Chart Axes

Here, we will learn how you can easily change the display of axes in a chart.

1.1. Display or Hide Axes

To display or hide any axes in a chart, these easy steps can be followed.

  • Click on the chart and select it.
  • Then, from the Chart Design tab, select Add Chart Element.
  • Click on Primary Horizontal from the Axes as shown.

Clicking on Primary Horizontal

Alternate Method:

You can do the same but use an alternative way.

  • Select the chart.
  • Then click on the plus icon at the top right corner.
  • After that, check/uncheck the mark on Primary Horizontal or Primary Vertical, or both to display or hide the axis.

Alternative of Displaying or Hiding Axis

  • A chart axis with Primary Horizontal and Primary Vertical axis will appear/disappear depending on your selection/deselection from the options.

Axis Appearing Here

1.2. Adjust Axis Tick Marks and Labels

Tick marks are small marks or lines on the axes of a chart or graph that indicate specific data points or intervals. These are commonly seen on both the X-axis (horizontal) and Y-axis (vertical) of a chart.

To add Tick Marks and Labels:

  • Start with selecting the chart, then click on the big plus icon at the top-right corner of the chart.
  • Click on More Options from Axes.

Clicking on More Options

  • In the Axis Options, click on Tick Marks. Then, in the Major type box, select Inside.
  • Then again, click on Labels, now select Next to Axis in the Label Position.

Adding Tick Marks and Labels

  • Ticks and Labels are added as follows.

Tick and Label Appearing

2. Format Axis Labels in a Chart

In this section, we will be talking about how you can format axis labels to make them look more interesting and more professional.

2.1. Change the Number of Categories Between Labels or Tick Marks

  • Select the chart and then click on the plus icon appearing at the top-right corner.
  • Then click on More Options from Axes
  • Now, from Axis Options, click on Labels. Then type 2 in the Specify interval unit

Specifying Interval Unit


Type 1 to display a label for every category.

Or you can type 2 to display a label for every other category.

3 to display a label for every third category, and so on.

  • It will display a label for every other category as follows. Remember it omitted some labels.

Tick Mark Appearing in Chart

2.2. Change the Alignment and Orientation of Labels

To change the alignment and orientations of Labels,

  • Click on the plus icon appearing at the top-right corner after selecting the chart.
  • Make sure to click on More Options from
  • Now, from Text Options, select Vertical alignment and Text direction, and Custom angle.

Changing the Alignment of the Text

2.3. Change Text and Numbers Format in Labels

We can also change the Text and Numbers format labels, make sure to follow the steps.

  • At the top-right corner, click on the plus icon appearing after selecting the chart.
  • Then click on More Options from the menu.
  • From Axis Options, click on Number, then select the number types in the box.

Changing the Number Format

3. Add Axis Titles

To add axis titles,

  • After selecting the chart, click on the plus icon appearing at the top-right corner.
  • Then click on Axis Titles, and check Primary Horizontal.

Clicking on Axis Titles

  • The axis title will appear as follows.

Axis Title Appearing

4. Change Axis Type

You can also change the Axis Type by following the steps below.

  • At the top-right corner, click on the plus icon appearing after selecting the chart.
  • Then click on More Options from
  • From the Axis option, in Axis type, select Text axis. 

Changing Axis Type

Changing the axis type in a chart adjusts how Excel shows the data:

  • Text Axis: Treats numbers as text labels (e.g., names).
  • Date Axis: Formats for time-based data (e.g., dates).
  • Logarithmic Scale: This shows data on a logarithmic scale.
  • Percentage Axis: Displays data as percentages. Choose the right axis type for accurate representation.

5. Adjust Axis Scale

To adjust Axis Scale, follow these steps.

  • First of all, select the Y-axis, then right-click on the chart.
  • A menu bar will appear. Click on Format Axis.

Clicking on Format Axis


  • Then, in the Axis option, type 2500 in the Maximum box, and 500 in the Major box.

Setting Maximum and Major

  • A chart with an adjusted scale will appear as follows.

New Chart with Adjusted Scale

6. Swap X and Y Axes in the Chart

Swapping X and Y axes in a chart switches the category and value representation. It’s useful to compare data from a different perspective or improve chart clarity.

To swap X and Y axis,

  • Click on the chart and then select the Chart Design tab from the ribbon.
  • Select the chart, and find the Switch Row/Column option.

Clicking on Switch Row or Column

  • The swapped chart will appear as follows.

New Chart with Switched Chart

7. Flip an Excel Chart from Left to Right

Flipping a chart refers to reversing the orientation of the chart along either the horizontal (X) axis or the vertical (Y) axis.

To flip an Excel chart,

  • Select the chart, and in the top-right corner, click the plus icon.
  • Choose More Options from the Axes
  • Check mark on Categories in reverse order.

Clicking on Categories in Reverse Order

  • The flipped chart will appear as follows.

Flipped Chart Appears

Things to Remember

  • Choose the right scaling for your data.
  • Use clear axis labels and titles.
  • Format numbers for readability.
  • Adjust font size and style appropriately.
  • Position the axis appropriately.
  • Customize tick marks and axis lines.
  • Consider axis crossings for negative values.
  • Use a logarithmic scale when needed.
  • Set fixed intervals for large data ranges.
  • Format date and time values correctly.
  • Reverse order if necessary.
  • Set axis limits to focus on specific data.


Lastly, I hope, this article is handy to make you understand how to format the axis in Excel. However, if you still have any questions about this topic, please comment below. Our team of professionals is dedicated to responding promptly to your inquiries. Also, if you know anyone searching for an Excel learning platform, feel free to endorse our services.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How do I format a horizontal axis in Excel?

  • Select the horizontal axis on your chart.
  • Right-click and choose Format Axis.
  • Use the Format Axis task pane on the right to customize the axis appearance.
  • Adjust axis options, labels, numbers, tick marks, font, and line color.
  • Preview changes and click Close to apply the formatting.

2. How do I change the axis scale in Excel?

  • Select the axis (either vertical or horizontal) on your chart.
  • Right-click and choose Format Axis.
  • In the Format Axis task pane, go to Axis Options.
  • Set the scale to Automatic for Excel to determine the best-fit scale.
  • Or, choose Fixed and enter specific minimum or maximum values.
  • Click Close to apply the changes to your chart.

3. How do I change the Y-axis format in Excel?

  • Select the Y-axis on your chart.
  • Right-click and choose Format Axis.
  • In the Format Axis pane, go to Axis Options.
  • Under Number, choose your desired format (General, Number, Currency, Percentage, etc.).
  • Set the decimal places and use a 1000 separator if needed.
  • Close the Format Axis pane to apply the changes.

Format Axis in Excel: Knowledge Hub

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Zahid Shuvo
Zahid Shuvo

Zahid Hasan Shuvo, a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering graduate from BUET, Bangladesh, has contributed nearly a year to the Exceldemy Project as an Excel and VBA Content Developer. Within this timeframe, he has crafted over 8 tutorial articles, and besides offering valuable solutions to aid users effectively. Zahid also expresses keen interests in Excel & VBA, Data Analysis, Machine Learning, AI Engines, and Prompt Engineering, showcasing a diverse skill set and contributing to the dynamic environment of... Read Full Bio

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