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Creating a Log/Log Chart

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Creating a Log/Log Chart.

Excel is great at automatically creating a wide variety of charts, lickety split. For some types of data, you may want to create a chart that is not readily apparently. Such is the case with a log/log chart.

The answer to this conundrum is to change which type of chart you use for your data. It seems that Excel will not allow the X axis to use a logarithmic scale for many types of charts. To specify a chart where you can use logarithmic scales on both axes, follow these steps:

  1. Select the chart area (the actual chart or the spreadsheet area you want to chart).
  2. Click the Chart Wizard button on the toolbar. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Chart Wizard.

  4. Select the XY (scatter) type of chart.
  5. Select the sub-chart type you want to use.
  6. Click on the Finish button.

If, for some strange reason, values along the X axis are still not represented in logarithmic scale, you can click on the X axis, choose to format it, and then specify a logarithmic scale.

You should note that this solution will work for many types of charts, but won't work for charts where you need to plot zero or negative values. (Those values don't have a LOG value.)

So why do you need to use a scatter chart for log/log data? Because it is the only type of chart that allows numeric values along the X axis. Other chart types use the X axis for categories of information, not numeric values.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3025) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Creating a Log/Log Chart.

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Comments for this tip:

Caitlin    27 Oct 2015, 19:48
oh my god THANK YOU! i have been banging my head against the wall for hours!
dr arnab sarma    05 May 2015, 03:06
excellent resource. thanks
 
 

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