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Chart Gridlines in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn about chart gridlines in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. Gridlines can help audiences understand charts better, especially if the chart is crowded.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher



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Learn how to ungroup charts in PowerPoint.



Gridlines are lines that span wide and tall within the chart's Plot Area. These Horizontal and Vertical gridlines originate from the axes. They makes the data easier to comprehend for the viewer. Gridlines may emerge from both the horizontal and vertical axes, although by default, you see only Horizontal gridlines on the chart. Gridlines are shown in Figure 1, below in which we have shown the Horizontal gridlines in red and the Vertical gridlines in purple. However, remember that these are not the default colors of gridlines.

Horizontal and Vertical gridlines
Figure 1: Horizontal and Vertical gridlines

There are a few points to be considered when you work with Gridlines:

  • There are also Depth Gridlines in 3-D Column charts, and these work best when your chart has a Z-axis.
  • Horizontal, Vertical, and Depth gridlines are of two types each: Major and Minor.
  • When there are Major and Minor Tick Marks displayed on the axes, gridlines align themselves with these Tick Marks. It appears as if the gridlines emerge from the Tick Marks.
  • By default, PowerPoint displays only Primary Major Horizontal as shown in Figure 4, later on this page.

In this tutorial, let us learn about Gridline options in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows:

  1. You first need to have a chart in your presentation. If you don't have an existing chart, insert a new chart in your slide. Now select the chart and click the Chart Elements button (highlighted in red within Figure 2). Doing so opens the Chart Elements gallery as shown in Figure 2.
  2. Chart Elements gallery
    Figure 2: Chart Elements gallery
  3. Within the Chart Elements gallery, select the Gridlines check-box (highlighted in red within Figure 3). This step enables the Primary Major Horizontal Gridlines on the chart, and also reveals a right-arrow icon, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 3. Click this right-arrow icon to open the Gridlines sub-gallery which includes various options for Gridlines.
  4. Gridlines sub-gallery
    Figure 3: Gridlines sub-gallery
  5. Within the Gridlines sub-gallery (see Figures 3 above), you can select various check-boxes to make Gridlines visible on the chart as required. Let's explore these Gridline options, as they are marked within Figures 3, above:

A. Primary Major Horizontal

Selected by default, this option enables only the Primary Major Horizontal Gridlines, as shown in Figure 4, below.

Chart with only the Primary Major Horizontal Gridlines
Figure 4: Chart with only the Primary Major Horizontal Gridlines

B. Primary Major Vertical

This option enables only the Primary Major Vertical Gridlines, as shown in Figure 5, below.

Chart with only the Primary Major Vertical Gridlines
Figure 5: Chart with only the Primary Major Vertical Gridlines

C. Primary Minor Horizontal

This option enables only the Primary Minor Horizontal Gridlines, as shown in Figure 6, below.

Chart with only the Primary Minor Horizontal Gridlines
Figure 6: Chart with only the Primary Minor Horizontal Gridlines

D. Primary Minor Vertical

This option enables only the Primary Minor Vertical Gridlines, as shown in Figure 7 (Gridlines have been formatted to make them clearly visible).

Chart with only the Primary Minor Vertical Gridlines
Figure 7: Chart with only the Primary Minor Vertical Gridlines

E. More Options

Select this option to summon the Format Major Gridlines Task Pane that you see in Figure 8. The name of this Task Pane may be different depending upon the Gridline selected. To learn more about the options in this Task Pane, refer to our More Gridline Options for Charts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows tutorial.

Format Major Gridlines Task Pane
Figure 8: Format Major Gridlines Task Pane


See Also:

Chart Gridlines: Chart Gridlines (Glossary Page)

Chart Gridlines in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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