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Tick Marks on Chart Axes in PowerPoint 2010

Learn about the Major and Minor Tick Marks on Chart Axes in PowerPoint 2010.

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







Charts are a visual representation of data, and when seen on a PowerPoint slide from afar, you make out the value of a series by exploring where exactly it's placed vis-à-vis the axis. Of course, if your chart has data labels, then this is less of an issue -- however, typical charts such as the one shown in Figure 1, below have no data labels. For such a chart, you'll notice that the column representing Grapes in 2009 is a little taller than the value 4 in the adjacent axis, indicating a rough value of around 4.25. We're still not sure -- and the Tick Marks placed on the axis will help us get a better idea.

There are two types of Tick Marks -- Major and Minor. In Figure 1 below -- we chose two colors to highlight these tick marks because most chart types show two types of tick marks on axes -- Major (highlighted in red) and Minor (highlighted in blue).

Major and Monor Tick marks on chart axes
Figure 1: Major and Minor Tick marks on chart axes

Major tick marks are indications on an axis that show up:

  • Between the categories on the Horizontal axis, and,
  • Besides Major Unit values on the Vertical axis

Both are shown in Figure 1, above (highlighted in red).

Major tick marks are the indications on an axis that show up between categories on the Horizontal axis, and, besides Major Unit values on the Vertical axis as shown in Figure 1, above (highlighted in red).

Minor tick marks are those tick marks that appear between the Major tick marks on an axis -- typically PowerPoint charts do not display Minor tick marks, but we enabled them in the chart shown in Figure 1 above (highlighted in blue). Minor tick marks help users measure the distance between the Major tick marks.

If you look at this picture of a ruler (picture sourced from Office.com), you'll recollect that both Major and Minor tick marks have been available in all types of rulers we have used -- even the rulers used in primary school.

Illustration of a ruler

In this tutorial we will learn how to show/hide these tick marks and also where you display these Major and Minor tick marks:

  1. Open your presentation and insert a chart on your slide, as shown in Figure 2. Just accept defaults, as we did for the basic Column chart shown in Figure 2. The default position of Tick marks depends upon the chart type you are working with -- also notice that Minor tick marks are hidden by default for a Column chart.

    Default postion of Tick marks in a Column charts
    Figure 2: Default position of Tick marks in a Column charts

  2. Click and select the chart axis for which you want to change the position of Tick marks -- right-click to bring up a context menu as shown in Figure 3. From this context menu, chose the Format Axis option (refer to Figure 3 again).

    Format Axis option selected for the Value Axis
    Figure 3: Format Axis option selected for the Value Axis

    Note: Can't see the Horizontal gridlines in Figure 3? We have disabled them so that the Tick marks in various positions are clearly visible in our screenshots.


  3. This summons the Format Axis dialog box -- in this dialog box, make sure that Axis Options is selected within the sidebar as shown in Figure 4. Locate the Major tick mark type and Minor tick mark type options (highlighted in red within Figure 4).

    Tick mark options within the Format Axis dialog box
    Figure 4: Tick mark options within the Format Axis dialog box

  4. Click the downward pointing arrow associated with either Major tick mark type or Minor tick mark type. You can see that there are four types of Major and Minor tick marks as shown in Figure 5.

    Major and Minor Tick mark types
    Figure 5: Major and Minor Tick mark types

    Let's explore them in the order they appear in Figure 5, above:

    1. None: As the name suggests, this option hides Tick marks.

    2. Inside: Positions the Tick marks inside the plot area.

    3. Outside: Positions the Tick marks outside of the plot area.

    4. Cross: Places the Tick marks on the axis they overlap with the axis, crossing it.
  5. Figure 6 shows the positions of Major tick marks on Value Axis when we selected the None, Inside, Outside, and Cross options.

    Major Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Value axis
    Figure 6: Major Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Value axis

    Figure 7 shows the positions of Minor tick marks on Value Axis when we selected the None, Inside, Outside, and Cross options.

    Minor Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Value axis
    Figure 7: Minor Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Value axis

    Figure 8 shows the positions of Major tick marks on Category Axis when we selected the None, Inside, Outside, and Cross options.

    Major Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Category Axis
    Figure 8: Major Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Category Axis

    Figure 9 shows the positions of Minor tick marks on Category Axis when we selected the None, Inside, Outside, and Cross options.

    Minor Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Category Axis
    Figure 9: Minor Tick mark positioned at None, Inside, Outside, and Cross on Category Axis

  6. Save your presentation often.

Note: The minor tick marks and the major tick marks overlap each other at the position of major tick marks. So, if you hide major tick marks but still show minor tick marks, the minor tick marks appear at the regular major tick-mark positions.

See Also:

Tick Marks on Chart Axes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Tick Marks on Chart Axes 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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