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I'm using a pivot chart in Excel to display data. My problem is: I can not influence the orientation of the text in the "axis" (don't know how to call it correctly, I'm sorry).

As an example: In the following chart I'd like the text marked in yellow also be oriented horizontally:


If I right-click on the chart and select "Format axis..." I can choose the orientation, but that only influences the texts "diff" and "imp", but not the rest.

I've also uploaded the example file:

Some interesting facts:

  • If I right-click on the vertical axis, select "format axis..." and then change the text orientation from "horizontal" to something else, it affects only the values "A" and "B" on the right, but not the P.. and "blonde/brown" (strange!)
  • I copied the sheet with the example chart to a new workbook and suddenly all the text orientation in the axis was ok (even more strange!!), apparently as it converts the pivot chart into a normal chart without pivot function, so that does not help me either.
    So the problem seems to be related to Pivot Charts...
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The terminology might be 'Secondary and tertiary vertical axis category labels' but I fear that won't help as I think the answer is "can't be done" without an ugly workaround such as by overlaying text boxes. However, there are some exceedingly ingenious SUsers who seem to thrive on 'impossible' challenges! – pnuts Oct 31 '12 at 11:29

It's a little hard to tell because your image is so small, but I think you're simply looking in the wrong place. Please try this:

  1. Select your chart
  2. Choose Layout > Axis Titles > Primary Vertical Axis > Horizontal Title


  1. Select your Vertical Axis Title
  2. Right click and choose Format Axis Title
  3. Select Alignment and you can change both Text Direction and Custom Angle.

Both work in Excel 2010 (I don't have Excel 2007 to test, but they should be about the same).

Excel keeps the formatting for Axis and their titles separate, so you need to make sure you're selecting the correct element before making your adjustments.

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thanks, I'll try that on Monday. – MostlyHarmless Nov 1 '12 at 13:12
It's not about the axis title but part of the axis labels. I've added a new screenshot and also uploaded an example file for you to try out directly. – MostlyHarmless Nov 2 '12 at 8:34
Thanks for the updated image, that makes more sense. I'll let you know if I can offer anything else. – dav Nov 2 '12 at 12:01

You were nearly there with axes titles. I don't know if the 2007 version has it but, on 2010, click where you want to edit then go to Layout > Axes > Alignment and you can change the alignment of the text with custom angles and all! Hope it helps!

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

as stated in pnuts' comment it seems that this is a bug in Office 2007 and it is not possible to influence the text orientation in Secondary and tertiary vertical axis category labels in pivot charts in Excel 2007.

However, as soon as the charts are converted into "normal" Excel charts (no pivot functions any more), it is possible to influence text orientation.

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