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In Excel 2003, when you created a XY chart using time as an axis, you could set the scaling of the axis by typing in the date. In Excel 2007, you have to use the decimal version of the time (eg. How many days since some arbitrary earlier date).

A developer posted on a blog that this issue would be fixed in a future release, but all versions of Excel 2007 I have tried have not resolved this issue. The relevant quote:

Those of you familiar with this technique of converting time to a decimal may recall that Excel 2003 allowed you to enter a date and time like “1/1/07 11:00 AM” directly in the axis option min/max fields and Excel would calculate the appropriate decimal representation. This currently does not work in Excel 2007 but will be fixed in a subsequent release.

I was wondering if there was a way to avoid having to make such a calculation?

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Excel 2007 has a problem with time as an axis in charts. Using ‘the decimal version of time’ is probably the best workaround.

The Microsoft blog you refer to closes with:

“In summary, whenever you need to create a time series chart where the units are smaller than a day, avoid using line, column, bar, or area chart types. Instead use an XY (Scatter) chart to accurately reflect the span of time.”

but even so the example used there requires decimal versions.

As mentioned by @Neal, this has been fixed for Excel 2010, as indicated by Microsoft would be the case.

Your question also mentions “days since some arbitrary earlier date”. This is a date matter for which no workaround is required when considering whole days. Formatting the source data in date format should be sufficient.

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I have just copied the data from that blog post into Excel 2010, and typing 11:00 and 17:00 as the minimum and maximum for the x-axis, does gives an axis running between those times as one would expect.

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I don't have access to Excel 2010 right now, I'm also not sure how willing the client would be to upgrading. – CookieOfFortune Jun 4 '10 at 17:47

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