How to Change Axis Scales in Excel Plots (With Examples)


This tutorial provides a step-by-step example of how to change the x-axis and y-axis scales on plots in Excel.

Step 1: Enter the Data

First, let’s enter a simple dataset into Excel:

Step 2: Create a Scatterplot

Next, highlight the cells in the range A2:B16. Then click the Insert tab along the top ribbon and then click the Scatter option within the Charts group:

The following scatterplot will automatically be created:

Step 3: Change the Axis Scales

By default, Excel will choose a scale for the x-axis and y-axis that ranges roughly from the minimum to maximum values in each column.

In this example, we can see that the x-axis ranges from 0 to 20 and the y-axis ranges from 0 to 30.

To change the scale of the x-axis, simply right click on any of the values on the x-axis. In the dropdown menu that appears, click Format Axis:

In the Format Axis panel that appears on the right side of the screen, change the values in the Minimum and Maximum boxes to change the scale of the x-axis.

For example, we could change the Maximum value of the x-axis to 50:

Once we press Enter, the x-axis scale will automatically be updated on the plot:

Excel example of changing axis scale

Notice that the x-axis now ranges from 0 to 50.

The y-axis has remained unchanged.

Instead of changing the minimum and maximum bounds, we could also choose to use a logarithmic scale for the axis instead.

In the Format Axis panel, simply check the box next to Logarithmic scale:

The x-axis will automatically be updated to use a logarithmic scale:

Excel logarithmic scale

Related: When Should You Use a Log Scale in Charts?

Note that in these examples, we chose to change only the x-axis scale.

However, we can just as easily change the y-axis scale by right-clicking on any of the values on the y-axis and performing the same steps as above.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

How to Plot Multiple Lines in Excel
How to Create Side-by-Side Boxplots in Excel
How to Create an Ogive Graph in Excel

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