How to Change the X Axis in Excel

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Bernard Perron
@bernardperron
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Nowadays, almost everyone uses Microsoft Office on a daily basis. Even though most people claim to master Office, this is far from the truth. Excel, in particular, isn't even easy to use, especially if you're not tech-savvy.

Whether you're a student, a business owner, or a fan of charts and tables, you need to know how to use Excel. One of the most asked questions about Excel is how to change the X axis, also known as the horizontal axis.



Read on and find out how to do this, both in terms of axis range and axis interval.

Excel Charts 101

Charts in Excel aren't that complicated when you know what to expect. There is an X axis and a Y axis. The first is horizontal and the second is vertical. When you change the horizontal X axis, you change the categories it contains. You can also change its scale for a better view.

The horizontal axis displays the date or text, showing various intervals. This axis is not numeric like the vertical axis.

The vertical axis shows the value of the corresponding categories. You can use many categories, but pay attention to the size of the chart, so that it fits on an Excel page. The best number of data sets for a visible Excel chart is between four and six.

If you have more data to display, maybe split it into multiple charts, which isn't hard to do. The X axis changes we are going to show you should work in all versions of Excel, i.e. Microsoft Office packages.

How to change the X axis range

The X-axis range isn't hard to change, but you need to think ahead and decide what kinds of changes you want to make. You can change many things, including the type of axis, category labels, their positioning, and the merge point of the X and Y axes.



Follow the steps to start changing the X axis range:

  1. Open the Excel file with the chart you want to adjust.
  2. Right-click the X axis in the chart you want to modify. This will allow you to specifically modify the X axis.
  3. Then click Select data.
  4. Select Edit just below the Horizontal Axis Labels tab.
  5. Then click Select the range.
  6. Mark the cells in Excel that you want to override the values ​​for the current X axis of your chart.
  7. When you select all the cells you want, press Select the range again to confirm.
  8. Finally, click on the Okay and the values ​​will be replaced with your selection.
  9. Click on Okay one more time to leave the Select data source the window.

How to edit the X axis

We've also mentioned other changes, and here's how to make them. Follow the steps to make additional changes to the X axis:

  1. Open the Excel file containing the chart you want to edit.
  2. Click on the X axis you want to modify.
  3. Now choose Chart tools.
  4. Then click Size in the list at the top of the screen.
  5. Then select Format selection, it's located just under File near the top of the screen.
  6. Click on Options d’axe, followed by Values ​​in reverse order, to change the category numbering.
  7. You can select the Type d’axe to change the text-based chart to a date-based chart.
  8. If you want to change the merge point of the X and Y axes, select Options d’axe and adjust the maximum value. Here you can change the tick interval, thereby changing the spacing in your chart.

How to change X axis intervals

Finally, you can also change the X-axis intervals. The process is different for a text-based X-axis and a date-based X-axis, so here are the individual instructions.



On a date-based X axis

Follow the steps to change the date-based X-axis intervals:

  1. Open the Excel file with your chart.
  2. Select the chart.
  3. Right click on the Horizontal axis and choose Format axis.
  4. Select Options d’axe.
  5. Sous units, click the box next to Major and type the interval number you want. To select Days, Month, or years next to this box, depending on your preference.
  6. Close the window and the changes will be saved.

On a text-based X axis

Follow the instructions to change the X-axis text intervals:


  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Select your chart.
  3. Now right click on the horizontal axis and choose Format axis… from the menu.
  4. Select Options d’axe then Labels.
  5. Sous Interval between labels, select the radio icon next to Specify interval unit and click on the text box next to it.
  6. Type the desired interval in the box. You can also leave it at one.
  7. Close the window and Excel will save the changes.

Modified horizontal axis

This is how you change the X axis in an Excel chart, in any version of Microsoft Excel. By the way, you can use the same steps to make most changes on the Y axis, or on the vertical axis as well, depending on the type of change.

Excel is not an easy program, but I hope you were able to follow these steps and make the necessary changes to your charts. If there is anything you would like to add, please do so in the comments section below.

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