The significance of any chart lies in its ability to visually represent complex data as a trend that an audience can easily grasp. So if you create a complex chart with too much detail, you might be ironically creating confusion out of simplicity, even if you are not aware that you are doing this! One of the easiest ways in which you can make your chart look simpler and less intimidating is by using fewer major units in the Y axis, and if that sounds like something that's difficult for you to understand, then stop worrying and start following this easy tutorial. This tutorial is for PowerPoint 2007 and will also work in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, users of PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 can follow this similar tutorial.
If you want, you can follow this tutorial with us, all you need is a slide with the default column chart inserted in PowerPoint 2007 or 2010.
Follow these steps to change major unit of Y axis in PowerPoint 2007 or 2010.
- Select the chart within PowerPoint slide, as shown in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Chart editing mode
- Now, click on the Vertical Value Axis (the vertical line towards the left of the plot area), as shown in Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Vertical value axis
- Activate the Chart Tools Layout tab of the Ribbon. Towards the extreme left of the Ribbon tab, make sure that you have selected the Vertical Value Axis, then click the Format Selection button as shown in Figure 3, below.
Figure 3: Format selection
- Doing so summons the Format Axis dialog box, as shown in Figure 4, below. Select the Axis Options tab from the left pane, and you'll find the options explained below in the right pane of the dialog box.
Figure 4: Format Axis
- Within the Axis Options tab of the dialog box, you'll find these options:
- Set the minimum value for the axis.
- Set maximum value for the axis.
- Change the value to alter major tick marks on the value axis.
- Change the value to alter minor tick marks on the value axis.
- Display the largest value at the bottom of the axis and the smallest at the top.
- Displays the values in a logarithmic, rather than an arithmetic relationship.
- Choose from hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, and trillions. You can also set this as None.
- Select to define the appearance of tick marks on the specified axis. You can choose in between outside, inside, and cross.
- Here you can place the axis label to. Next to axis (default), high or low.
- This option, if selected follows the default setting.
- Here you can set the axis cross value.
- This option takes the highest value and applies the changes.
- Now choose the Fixed radio button in Major unit, and enter the value in the text box, such as 4 (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Major unit
- When done, click the Close to get back to the chart.
- Figure 6, shows that the Y-axis major unit values now show a difference of 4 points. This makes the chart look cleaner and gives it more visual breathing space.
Figure 6: Y-axis values
- Save your presentation.
Values in Reverse Order
Major tick mark type
Horizontal axis crosses
Maximum axis value
10 08 05 - 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 2011 for Mac
Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Change Major and Minor Units of Value Axis in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows