How to Add Text to the X or Y Axis on a Chart

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Article ID: 137528 - View products that this article applies to.
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In Microsoft Excel, when you try to add text to the x-axis or y-axis of a chart, you are unable to manually edit the numbers on the axis to change them to text.


To enter the word at a certain point on the axis, you must apply a custom number format to the axis.


In this example, the word "minimum" will appear for the lowest value of the chart and the word "maximum" will appear for the highest value. To create this example, follow these steps:
  1. On a new sheet, enter the following:
    A1: 1
    A2: 1000
  2. Select cells A1:A2, and press F11 to create a chart.
  3. Click the y-axis to activate it.
  4. On the Format menu, click Selected Axis.

    The Format Axis dialog box appears.
  5. In the Format Axis dialog box, select the Number tab.
  6. In Microsoft Excel version 5.0, under Category, click the Number. In versions 7.0 and later, click the Custom category.
  7. Select any format code and clear the contents of the Type box.
  8. In the Type box, type the following text
          [=minvalue] "Minimum";[=maxvalue] "Maximum"
    where minvalue is the minimum data value, and maxvalue is the maximum data value.

    For example, if the minimum value is 0 and the maximum is 1000, type:
          [=0] "minimum";[=1000] "maximum"
NOTE: These steps generally work for charts other than pie, doughnut, and some custom 3-D types in Excel 97.


After you have created a chart, you can enhance it by adding data labels, chart and axis titles, a legend, and gridlines. To add these items to a chart, you can use the commands on the Insert menu in Excel 5.0 or 7.0, the Chart menu in Excel 97, or the shortcut menu. You can also add some of these items when you're creating a chart with the ChartWizard.

After an item is on a chart, you can double-click the item to display a formatting dialog box that contains various tabs. Each tab allows you to customize the chart item by adding patterns, colors, and so on. You can also use the commands on the Format menu to format chart items.


Article ID: 137528 - Last Review: August 17, 2005 - Revision: 1.3
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 5.0 Standard Edition
kbprb KB137528
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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