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I'm trying to rename the values that are on my Y Axis on a chart in excel. Currently I have mapped various letters to number equivilants just to get it plotted, but would like now to have the letter equivalents on the Y axis (Think in terms of grading someone on an A-F scale).

Does anyone have an idea on how to do this?



I've discovered something that partially works, if you right click the Y-Axis and select "Format Axis" from this menu. Then choose the "Number" tab, you can enter a "Custom" format string. using something along the lines of:


You can have the ticks substituted with your own values. The new problem is, this solution only seems to work for two values, beyond that it seems to break! Any ideas?


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migrated from Oct 7 '09 at 0:10

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You are on Excel 2003 or Excel 2007? – Graviton Oct 7 '09 at 1:03
I am using Excel 2007 – Irfy Oct 7 '09 at 16:48
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It can be done with a bit of trickery, but if it's a simple chart, it's almost definitely easier to just manually draw some new labels using text boxes with opaque backgrounds over the existing labels.


Hide the existing Y-axis ticks and labels, then plot a new X-Y series of points like this:

x y

0 1

0 2

0 3

0 4

. .

By changing the format of the point markers to something suitable, like horizontal lines,you'll get a new set of tickmarks straight up the y-axis.

Unfortunately this is where it gets a little more fiddly. You now need to plot a data label for each point to form your new y-axis tick labels. As far as I know not even the latest version of Excel can do this automatically, but you'll find various macros to do this for you (Google: Excel X-Y scatter point labeller).

You'll then be able to add an extra column:

x y label

0 1 f 

0 2 e

0 3 d

0 4 c

. . .

Run the macro and each pseudo-tickmark will have a label next to it. But you'll need to play with label alignment settings to get them in the right place.

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Thanks elliot, this is certainly an option that I may look at, however I've been reading about using the format string to try and achieve this: please see the edits to my original post. – Irfy Oct 7 '09 at 16:49
That would be rather easier if it worked! – e100 Oct 7 '09 at 17:11
Strange, which version of excel are you using elliot? – Irfy Oct 8 '09 at 14:59
2000/2003.. but all I meant by previous comment was that if you get it your axis custom number format method to work for more than two values, it would be far easier than using my suggestion :-) – e100 Oct 8 '09 at 17:04
The 2013 version added support for labeling data points, so now all you need is x, y, and label. – Merbs May 12 '13 at 17:48

With format string you can add labels only for two tickmarks, and there are no way how to extend this count

Check this link for a possible solution

Another way is to use scatter charts and use extra series as a dummy series with Axis lables (on line chart it's impossible to add such vertical series)

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You can add an XY series to a line chart, and with properly chosen X values, the XY series will align its points vertically. – Jon Peltier Nov 10 '15 at 13:50

Click on the chart you've created.

Under Chart Tools, click the Design tab.

Click Select Data.

In the Select Data Source window that pops up, you should see two main boxes: Legend Entries (Series) and Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels.

Under Legend Entries (Series), click the Add button.

In "Series name," you can type in whatever you want to name it as text. In "Series values," you enter the value that your text will represent. For example, you can rate your students' papers as Excellent, Good, Needs Improvement, or Unsatisfactory. You could enter "Excellent" as your first series name with the series value being ={4}. Thus, Unsatisfactory as a series name would correspond to the series value of ={1}. Click OK, and add as many Legend Entries / Series as you wish.

In the Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels field, I'm assuming all of your students names or IDs will go here. Then, when you are finished and click OK, your chart will show the students' names or IDs along the x-axis. The bars will be color coded according to their designation in the legend on the right.

This is not a perfect solution by any means. But it should give you the ability to take this chart into PowerPivot if you want to add slicers and get really nifty (whereas putting an opaque box over each numerical label would not allow you to convert the data to a PivotChart as nicely).

Best of luck. If anyone finds a better alternative, please post.

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