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Changing Axis Tick Marks

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: Changing Axis Tick Marks.

If you use an Excel chart type that uses axes, you may have noticed the presence of "tick marks" on one or all of the axes. Tick marks are used to indicate a major or minor demarcation along an axis. For instance, if you have an axis that ranges from 0 to 1000, there may be major tick marks at every 100 in the range, and minor tick marks at every 50.

Excel normally sets up the tick marks for you, but you can change the way they appear by following these steps:

  1. Right-click on the axis whose tick marks you want to change. Excel displays a Context menu for the axis.
  2. Choose Format Axis from the Context menu. (If there is no Format Axis choice, then you did not right-click on an axis in step 1.) Excel displays the Format Axis dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Scale tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Scale tab of the Format Axis dialog box.

  5. Change the value to the right of Major Unit to indicate the multiple at which the major tick marks should appear.
  6. Change the value to the right of Minor Unit to indicate the multiple at which the minor tick marks should appear.
  7. Use the controls on the Scale tab to indicate where tick marks should appear along the axis.
  8. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3200) 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: Changing Axis Tick Marks.

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