Date or Time Scaling in a Chart

Excel handles dates and times by treating them as numbers, allowing it to adjust the chart scale accordingly. When you input actual dates, Excel automatically recognizes them and adjusts the chart. But what should you do if Excel doesn’t represent the text as dates on the chart?

As the previous figure demonstrates, using time or date values for the horizontal axis makes a lot of sense for charting progress. Excel will put each date or time evenly on the axis, so you can easily track how things change over time. Follow these steps if your chart recognizes the dates (or times):

  1. Right-click on the X-axis (horizontal axis) in the chart. Select Format Axis.
  2. In the Format Axis pane on the right, choose Axis Options.
  3. Under Axis Type, select Date axis. When you select “Date axis,” Excel recognizes the values on the axis as dates and treats them accordingly.
  4. To configure the Date axis options, visit How to change the scale on a chart.

By choosing the appropriate base unit, major unit, and minor unit, you can control the granularity of the date axis, making it easier for viewers to interpret the chart and understand the progression of time in your data.

Charts and Graphs