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Changing Axis Labels in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to change the axis labels in PowerPoint 2013.

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Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 / 8







Axis Labels are the labels for the Categories and Values on chart axes. Look at Figure 1 below that shows the default position of Axis labels for a Column chart. Category names, which show as labels on the Horizontal (Category) axis have been highlighted in blue, and Values show as labels on the Vertical (Values) axis -- these are highlighted in red within Figure 1.

Default Axis Labels in a Column chart
Figure 1: Default Axis Labels in a Column chart

Note: Axis labels are entirely different from Axis titles.

So, where do these labels come from? Category axis labels (highlighted in blue, within Figure 1, above) reflect the Category names within your data (typically within the built-in Excel sheet). Values (highlighted in red, within Figure 1, above) on the other hand are determined by PowerPoint based upon the maximum value in your data -- the minimum value is always set to zero. Of course you can change the Minimum and Maximum values if you want.

Note: Values are typically shown as numbers or percentage values. They can also have decimals.

Before you get started, you should have a chart inserted in your PowerPoint slide -- we use a Column chart for this example. Follow these steps to learn how you can change your axis labels in PowerPoint 2013.

Changing Vertical (Value) Axis Labels:

Let's start with changing Vertical (Value) axis labels:

  1. Select the Value Axis of the chart on your slide and carefully right-click to access the contextual menu as shown in Figure 2. Within this contextual menu, chose the Format Axis option (refer to Figure 2 again). If you do not get the Format Axis option in the contextual menu, you may have right-clicked on another chart element -- make sure you then deselect anything in the chart, and then right-click on the Value Axis.

    Format Axis option selected for the Value Axis
    Figure 2: Format Axis option selected for the Value Axis

  2. This opens the Format Axis Task Pane, as shown in Figure 3. Make sure that the Axis Options button is selected as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3 .

    Format Axis Task Pane
    Figure 3: Format Axis Task Pane

    In Figure 3 above, you can see that all Vertical axis' Minimum, Maximum, Major, and Minor options are set to default values -- we know so because the text Auto appears next to these options. If you change the Maximum or Minimum value, or change the Major or Minor unit, you will see the Vertical Axis labels reflecting the changes you made. To change any of these values, type the required value within the box provided with each of these options.

    Look at Figure 4 where we have set the Maximum value to 10 (highlighted in red) -- you can see a live preview of the Vertical Axis label automatically reflecting this change, showing the Maximum value as 10 (highlighted in blue within Figure 4) -- compare this to the original chart shown in Figure 1 earlier on this page. Also note within Figure 4 that the Auto option next to the Maximum value has now changed to Reset (compare within Figures 3 and 4).

    Value Axis Label reflecting the changed Maximum value
    Figure 4: Value Axis Label reflecting the changed Maximum value

    Now, look at Figure 5 where we have changed the Display units to Hundreds (highlighted in red). Notice that the Vertical Axis label now shows the changed display units (highlighted in blue within Figure 5).

    Value Axis Label reflecting the changed Display units
    Figure 5: Value Axis Label reflecting the changed Display units

    You can also change the Value Axis label to show as Currency. To do so, select the Number option in the Format Axis Task Pane (highlighted in red within Figure 6). Thereafter select Currency within the Category list (highlighted in blue within Figure 6) -- you can also choose the Currency symbol you need (highlighted in green within Figure 6), and set the required number of decimal spaces. You can see that the resultant Value Axis label (highlighted in orange in Figure 6) is now set to Currency.

    Value Axis Label changed to Currency
    Figure 6: Value Axis Label changed to Currency

    You can similarly change the Value labels to show Percentages, Fractions, etc.

Changing Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels:

Now, let us learn how to change the Category Axis labels.

  1. First select your chart -- then click the Edit Data button (highlighted in red within Figure 7) within the Charts Tools Design tab of the Ribbon. This opens an instance of Excel with your chart data -- notice the Category names (highlighted in blue).

    Edit Data button
    Figure 7: Edit Data button

  2. To change the Category names within the instance of Excel sheet just type new names as required. Look at Figure 8 where we have changed our category names (highlighted in red).

    Category names changed within the Excel sheet
    Figure 8: Category names changed within the Excel sheet

  3. Close the instance of Excel -- the changes you make to the Category names in Excel will automatically be reflected in the Category axis labels on your chart within PowerPoint as shown in Figure 9 (highlighted in red) -- compare this with the original chart shown in Figure 1, earlier on this page.

    Chart reflecting the changed category names
    Figure 9: Chart reflecting the changed category names

  4. Save your presentation.

See Also:

Changing Axis Labels in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Changing Axis Labels in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

 

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Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

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