How to change the numbers on the x-axis in Excel

You can watch a video tutorial here.

Charts are a great way to visualize data and Excel provides several options for creating charts and formatting them. The type of chart you create depends on the type of data that you have. When you create a chart in Excel, by default the x-axis labels are taken from the data. You may want to change the labels on the x-axis to make them easier for the reader to understand. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. Change the values in the underlying dataset
  2. Create custom labels

Option 1 – Change the underlying dataset

Step 1 – Change the values for the x-axis

  • Go to the dataset on which the chart is built
  • Change the values in the ‘Year’ column
  • The x-axis labels are updated as you change the values

Step 2 – Check the result

  • The x-axis numbers are updated to match the updated column

Option 2 – Create custom labels

Step 1 – Open the Select Data Source box

  • Select the chart to summon the Chart Design  menu option
  • Go to Chart Design > Data
  • Click on Select Data

Step 2 – Open the Axis Labels box

  • Under Horizontal (Category) Axis labels click Edit

Step 3 – Define the labels

  • Type the new labels, each separated by a comma
  • Ensure that the number of labels matches the number of values
  • Click OK

Step 4 – Check the labels

  • Check that the labels have changed
  • Click OK to close the Select Data Source box

Step 5 – Check the result

  • The numbers on the x-axis are changed to the new labels