Improve axes format in Excel

Excel 2016
Very few Excel users pay attention to the chart axes, but there are some tricks with axes that will help you to improve your visualizations with little or no efforts.

   1.   Hide some points

Sometimes you need to omit some points of the chart axis, e.g., the zero point:

Hide zero point in the Excel 365 chart

See How to hide points on the chart axis for more details.

   2.   Format value ranges differently

Another powerful trick to attain the attention of the audience and improve the effectiveness of your presentation is to use axis label formatting customized for the specific value ranges:

Three different formats Excel 365   Condition format Excel 365  

See Conditional formatting of chart axes for more details.

   3.   Format data ranges differently along the horizontal axis

Most reports and presentations contain a lot of boring charts that describe the state before and after some event, action, etc. However, using simple visual tricks, you can shake up the audience and draw attention to the essence of your presentation:

Chart with a Decorative Element in Excel 365

See How to add Dividers to the chart for more details.

   4.   Format data ranges differently along horizontal and vertical axes

Periodical processes like the volume of support service calls often have critical zones that indicate a severe problem that needs to be investigated and mitigated. The following tip shows how to reveal and emphasize those critical zones for analysis:

The Competition Chart in Excel 365

See Creating a chart with critical zones for more details.

   5.   Create two horizontal or vertical axes on the same side

If you need to display two different data series for the one- or compatible-time ranges that have different value scales, you can add the secondary vertical axis.

While the secondary vertical axis provides a way to display two different types of data for the one time range, the secondary horizontal axis allows you to create a chart showing two data series for different time ranges:

Two vertical axes on the same side in Excel 365
Two horizontal axes on the same side in Excel 365

See How to create two vertical axes on the same side and How to create two horizontal axes on the same side for more details.

See also this tip in French: Comment améliorer le format des axes dans Excel.

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