How to add an axis pointer

Excel 365
Since our school times, we became familiar with drawing charts with arrows on the axes, but in Excel charts, the axes are just lines. You can customize them differently: change their width, color, and transparency; hide any axis or its labels; add the secondary horizontal or vertical axis; add, hide, or display a part of axes labels; etc.
Axis pointers in Excel 365

For example, arrows should be added to the horizontal axis of an existing chart instead of simple axes created by default:

Axis pointers in Excel 365

Customize an axis to display an arrow

To display an arrow in the axis, do the following:

   1.   Right-click on the axis and select Format Axis... in the popup menu (or double-cick on the axis):

Format Axis in popup menu Excel 365

   2.   On the Format Axis pane, on the Axis Options tab, in the Fill & Line group, in the Line section, for any of the selected options but No line:

  • In the End Arrow type list, select Stealth Arrow:
    End Arrow type list in Format Axis pane Excel 365
  • In the End Arrow size list, select the biggest one: Arrow R Size 9:
    End Arrow size list in Format Axis pane Excel 365

Excel displays the arrow at the end of the axis:

Axis pointer example in Excel 365

Note: You can remove major and minor tick marks if available: on the Format Axis pane, on the Axis Options tab, in the Axis Options group, in the Tick Marks section:

  • In the Major type list, choose None:
    No Tick Marks in Format Axis pane Excel 365
  • In the Minor type list, choose None if needed.

Add the shape for the axis arrow

To add a custom arrow to the horizontal (Category) axis, do the following:


Create a shape for an arrow

   1.   Create the arrow shape: on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Shape button (see more about shapes), then select any arrow shape and customize it:

Horizontal arrow shape example in Excel 365

Add new data

   2.   Add new data for the new data series with the values to be at the rightmost point of the chart horizontal axis:

New data in Excel 365

where,

  • 12 for the horizontal position because the rightmost value is 12th months,
  • 50 for the vertical position because the minimal visible value in the Y axis is 50.

Add a new data series

   3.   Add a new data series to the chart:

   3.1.   To add a new data series to your chart, do one of the following:

  • On the Chart Design tab, in the Data group, choose Select Data:
    Select Data in Excel 365
  • Right-click on the chart area and choose Select Data... in the popup menu:
    Select Data in popup menu Excel 365

   3.2.   In the Select Data Source dialog box:

  • Under Legend Entries (Series), click the Add button:
    Add new data series in Excel 365
  • In the Edit Series dialog box, type:
    • In the Series X values box - the cell with the Y value ($D$17):
    Edit Series dialog box in Excel 365
  • Click the OK button twice to close the Select Data Source dialog box.

Note: If your chart is a scatter chart, you will see another dialog box. Skip the following steps and go to step 3.6.

   3.3.   Right-click on the new data series and choose Change Series Chart Type... in the popup menu:

Change Series Chart Type in popup menu Excel 365

Note: If you don't see the new data series on the chart, see how to select invisible elements on the chart.

   3.4.   In the Change Chart Type dialog box, for the new data series, choose the Scatter type:

Change Chart Type dialog box in Excel 365

Note: Don't worry about the wrong visualization - you will fix it later.

   3.5.   Open the Select Data Source dialog box again (see step 3.1.), select the new data series, then under Legend Entries (Series), click the Edit button.

   3.6.   In the Edit Series dialog box, type:

  • In the Series X values box - the cell with the X value ($C$17),
  • In the Series Y values box - the cell with the Y value ($D$17):
Edit Series dialog box in Excel 365

The new data series is added to the rightmost point at the horizontal axis:

New data series on chart in Excel 365

Add a data series label

   4.   Right-click the new data series and choose Add Data Labels -> Add Data Labels in the popup menu:

Add Data Label in Excel 365

   5.   Select the prepared shape for the arrow and copy it to the Clipboard by pressing Ctrl+C or clicking the Copy button in the Clipboard group on the Home tab:

Copy button in Excel 365

   6.   Right-click on the new data labels and select Format Data Labels... in the popup menu:

Format Data Labels in popup menu Excel 365

   7.   On the Format Data Labels pane:

  • On the Label Options tab:
    • In the Fill & Line group, in the Fill section, select the Picture or texture fill option, then click the Clipboard button:
      Fill Labels from Clipboard in Excel 365
    • In the Label Options group, under Label Options, in the Label Position group, select the Right option:
      Right Label Position in Format Data Labels pane in Excel 365
  • On the Text Options tab, in the Text Fill & Outline group:
    • In the Text Fill section, select No fill,
    • In the Text Outline section, select No line:
      No text fill in Format Data Labels pane in Excel 365

Excel displays the new data series with shape as a label:

Shape on the data labels in Excel 365

Note: To change the shape dimensions, double-click on it to see the resize handles:

Horizontal arrow shape change in Excel 365

The last and the most important step is to hide the unneeded data series, then customize the horizontal axis.

Note: The same technique can be adapted for the Y axis:

  • The shape can look like this:
    Vertical arrow shape change in Excel 365
  • The new data for the new data series can be like this:
    New additional data in Excel 365

    where,

    • 1 for the horizontal position because of the leftmost value,
    • 130 for the vertical position because of the maximum visible value in the vertical axis.
  • To see the correct position for the shape, on the Format Data Labels pane, in the Label Options group, under Label Options, in the Label Position group, select the Above option.

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