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Changing Axis Labels in PowerPoint 2010

Learn how to change the axis labels in PowerPoint 2010.

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Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8







In your chart, 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. Similarly Values show as labels on the Vertical (Values) axis -- these are highlighted in red.

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

So where do these labels come from? Category axis labels reflect the Category names within your data (typically within the built-in Excel sheet). Values 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.


Tip: If you don't know how to insert a chart, refer to our Inserting Charts in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial -- you can also change the chart type from one to another. Make sure your chart type supports axes.

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 -- 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. From the contextual menu, chose 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 dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.

    Format Axis dialog box
    Figure 3: Format Axis dialog box

    In Figure 3 above, you can see all the Vertical axis' Minimum, Maximum, Major unit, and Minor unit options are set to default values -- we know so because the Auto radio button is selected for all 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, first you need to select the Fixed radio button associated with the option you want to change. Then, enter the required value within the box.

    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.

    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 sidebar (highlighted in green within Figure 6). Thereafter select Currency within the Category list (highlighted in red within Figure 6) -- you can choose the Currency symbol you need, and also set the required number of decimal spaces. You can see that the resultant Value Axis label (highlighted in blue 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.

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

  1. First select your chart -- then click the Edit Data button within the Charts Tools Design tab of the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 7 (highlighted in red).

    Edit Data button within Data group
    Figure 7: Edit Data button within Data group

  2. This opens an instance of Excel with your chart data. Change the Category names within the Excel sheet -- type new names for the Categories 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. Exit 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 2013 for Windows
Changing Axis Labels in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

 

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

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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