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Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Change major and minor units of the value axis in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. We also explore other value axis options.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X



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Major and minor units are the intervals at which the axis spaces itself. As the name suggest, you can choose to space the axis at two levels: major and minor. Look at Figure 1, below and you'll see a chart that has both major and minor units displayed on the value axis. All units pointed with blue arrows are major, and green arrows point to minor units.

Major and Minor Units displayed on the Value axis
Figure 1: Major and minor units displayed on the value axis

By default, PowerPoint sets the major and minor units on its own, many times, this may be exactly what you need. At other times, you may want to set your own intervals for the major and minor units. Before you do so, a word of caution: do remember that any of these changes can have three implications:

1. Values

Values that you see placed on the value axis reflect the major units you choose. However, any changes you make to minor units do not influence the displayed values, since values of minor units are not shown on the axis.

2. Tick Marks

Tick marks you see change depending upon intervals you choose for both major and minor units. Of course, it all depends upon whether you have opted to display tick marks or not. Refer to our Tick Marks on Chart Axes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial to learn more.

3. Gridlines

Gridlines shown change as well. Again, the appearance of these gridlines will be influenced by whether you have made them visible or not.

The major unit influences spacing between major tick marks on the value axis. Similarly, the minor unit influences spacing between minor tick marks on the value axis. By default these values are automatically decided by the Minimum and Maximum scale values on the value axis. Still, you can change them to suit your needs, as explained in this tutorial.

Follow these steps to learn about changing major and minor units within chart axes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

  1. To start with, you need a chart inserted on your slide. For this tutorial we have selected a column chart, as shown in Figure 2, below. As you can see, the default chart shows only major units for both tick marks and gridlines. No minor units are represented here.
  2. Chart inserted
    Figure 2: Chart inserted
  3. To see the effect of the minor units on your chart, enable minor tick marks on the vertical (value) axis, as shown in Figure 3, below.
  4. Minor Tick marks visible on the Vertical (Value) Axis
    Figure 3: Minor tick marks visible on the vertical (value) axis
  5. Now, click on the vertical (value) axis (the axis towards the left of the plot area) to select it, as shown in Figure 4, below.
  6. Vertical (Value) Axis selected
    Figure 4: Vertical (value) axis selected
  7. Right-click (Ctrl+click) the vertical (value) axis to bring up the contextual menu that you see in Figure 5, below. Select the Format Axis option as shown in Figure 5.
  8. Format Axis option for the Vertical (Value) Axis is selected
    Figure 5: Format Axis option for the vertical (value) axis is selected
  9. Doing so summons the Format Axis dialog box. Make sure that the Scale option is active on sidebar, as shown in Figure 6, below. As you can see, all Vertical axis scale options are check-marked to Auto by default.
  10. Format Axis dialog box
    Figure 6: Format Axis dialog box
  11. To change the major unit value, deselect the Auto check-box in front of the Major unit option to take it off Auto mode, and enter the new value in the box, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7, below. We changed the value to 2.
  12. Major unit value changed
    Figure 7: Major unit value changed
  13. When done, click the OK button to apply the change and get back to the chart. In Figure 8 you can see that the value axis' major unit values now show an interval of 2 points. This makes the chart look cleaner and gives it more visual breathing space. Compare Figures 2 and 8.
  14. Major unit value change reflecting on the chart
    Figure 8: Major unit value change reflecting on the chart
  15. To change the minor unit, access the Format Axis dialog box again (see Steps 3 and 4). Make sure that the Scale option is active on sidebar as shown in Figure 9, below. As you can see in Figure 9, the default Minor unit value is set to 0.2, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 9.
  16. Default Minor unit value within Format Axis dialog box
    Figure 9: Default minor unit value within Format Axis dialog box
  17. Now, deselect the Auto check-box in front of the Minor unit option to take it off Auto mode, and add the new required value in the box. We changed the value to 0.1, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 10, below.
  18. Minor unit value changed within Format Axis dialog box
    Figure 10: Minor unit value changed within Format Axis dialog box
  19. When done, click the OK button to apply the change and get back to the chart. In Figure 11, you can see that the value axis' minor unit values now show a difference of 0.1 points. Compare Figures 3 and 11.
  20. Minor unit value change reflecting on the chart
    Figure 11: Minor unit value change reflecting on the chart
  21. Save your presentation.

See Also:

Chart Axes: Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis (Glossary Page)

Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

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