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Reposition and Hide Axis Labels in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Hide or reposition axis labels in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. Sometimes, these options may make your chart appear cleaner.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X

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Are you pleased with the default locations where PowerPoint places your axis labels? Yes, we do believe that the defaults do work best most of the time because audiences expect these labels to exist at these familiar locations. However, there may be times when you probably don't even need labels for your axes, or you may want them placed in another location so that your charts look cleaner. Whatever your motive may be, it is indeed possible to change the position of axis labels vis-à-vis the axis.

Figure 1, below shows the chart that we are using as the starting point for this tutorial. As we make changes to the position of the axis labels later in this tutorial, we will ask you to compare these changes with the chart we started with. In Figure 1, labels for the value axis are highlighted in red, and the category axis labels are similarly highlighted in blue.

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

Both the value as well as category axis labels have four position options. Follow these steps to explore them:

  1. Select the value axis or category axis of the chart depending upon which axis label you want to edit, and right-click (or Ctrl+click) to access the contextual menu, as shown Figure 2, below. From the contextual menu, choose the Format Axis option, as shown in Figure 2.
  2. Format Axis option selected for the Value Axis
    Figure 2: Format Axis option selected for the value axis
  3. Doing so opens the Format Axis dialog box. Select the Ticks option within the sidebar, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, below.
  4. Position options for Axis labels
    Figure 3: Position options for axis labels
  5. Here, you will find four options within the axis labels section, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 3, above. These are the various position options for the axis labels of the selected axis. Do remember that Next to Axis is the default position for all PowerPoint axis labels. Let us explore these options in the order they appear:
  6. None

  7. Hides the axis labels for the selected axis. We chose this option for both axes. You can see the resultant chart in Figure 4, below. Note that you don't need to hide both axes labels. You can certainly hide one of them and opt to show the other.
  8. Axes labels hidden for both axes
    Figure 4: Axes labels hidden for both axes
  9. High

  10. This option works similarly for both the category and value axes. It shows the labels in the position of what would be your secondary axis. When selected for the category axis, this option moves the axis labels above the plot area. When selected for the value axis, this option moves the axis labels to the right side of the plot area. Changes for both axes can be seen in Figure 5 (compare with Figure 1).
  11. Set your axes labels to High
    Figure 5: Set your axes labels to High
  12. Low

  13. When you select the Low option for a typical chart in which the value and category axes are placed on the left and bottom sides respectively of the plot area, you won't see any differences in the axis label positions. They will still show in their default position, i.e., Next to Axis, as shown previously in Figure 1.
  14. For the Low option to show any visual change, one or both your axes must cross the plot area. To understand more about crossing, explore our Crossed Axes tutorial. Figure 6, below shows you how the axis labels look when both the value and category axes are crossing each other in the middle of the chart. Note that whatever you see in Figure 6 is a result of selecting the Next to Axis option for the axis position. Clearly this result does not look clean at all, and the Low option will help you.
  15. Axis labels for Crossed axes in the default Next to Axis position
    Figure 6: Axis labels for crossed axes in the default Next to Axis position
  16. We now changed the axis labels' position to Low to end up with a much cleaner chart, as shown in Figure 7, below. The horizontal axis labels moved below the plot area whereas vertical axis labels moved to the left side of the plot area (compare with Figure 6).
  17. Axes labels set to Low in a chart having axes crossing each other
    Figure 7: Axes labels set to Low in a chart having axes crossing each other
  18. Next to Axis

  19. This is the default option. Charts with non-crossed axes appear as shown in Figure 1, previously on this page. Charts with crossed axes appear as shown in Figure 6, again previously on this page.
  20. Position axes labels as required, and save your presentation.

See Also:

Chart Axes: Reposition and Hide Axis Labels (Glossary Page)

Reposition and Hide Axis Labels in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

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