Learn How to Show or Hide Chart Axes in Excel

Show or Hide Chart Axes in Excel

 Rawpixel / Unsplash

For most chart types, the vertical axis (known as the value or y-axis) and the horizontal axis (known as the category or x-axis) are displayed automatically when a chart is created in Excel. It is not necessary, however, to display all or any of the axes for a chart.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Excel for Office 365, and Excel for Mac.

What Is an Axis?

An axis on a chart or graph in Excel or Google Sheets is a horizontal or vertical line containing units of measure. The axes border the plot area of column charts, bar graphs, line graphs, and other charts. An axis displays units of measure and provides a frame of reference for the data displayed in the chart. Most charts, such as column and line charts, have two axes that are used to measure and categorize data:

  • The vertical axis: The Y or value axis.
  • The horizontal axis: The X or category axis.

3-D Chart Axes

In addition to horizontal and vertical axes, 3-D charts have a third axis. The z-axis, also called the secondary vertical axis or depth axis, plots data along the third dimension (the depth) of a chart.

Horizontal Axis

The horizontal x-axis is found at the bottom of the plot area, and contains category headings taken from the data in the worksheet.

Vertical Axis

The vertical y-axis is located along the left side of the plot area. The scale for this axis is usually based on the data values that are plotted in the chart.

Secondary Vertical Axis

A second vertical axis, which is found on the right side of a chart, displays two or more types of data in a single chart. It is also used to chart data values.

A climate graph or climatograph is an example of a combination chart that uses a second vertical axis to display both temperature and precipitation data versus time in a single chart.

Axes Titles

All chart axes are identified by an axis title that includes the units displayed in the axis.

Charts without Axes

Bubble, radar, and pie charts are some chart types that do not use axes to display data.

Hide and Display Chart Axes

To hide one or more axes in an Excel chart:

  1. Select a blank area of the chart to display the Chart Tools on the right side of the chart.

    Screenshot of Chart Elements button in Excel
  2. Select Chart Elements, the plus sign (+), to open the Chart Elements menu.

    Screenshot of Chart Elements menu
  3. To hide all axes, clear the Axes check box.

    Screenshot showing cleared Axes checkbox
  4. To hide one or more axes, hover over Axes to display a right arrow.

  5. Select the arrow to display a list of axes that can be displayed or hidden on the chart.

    Screenshot showing Axes options
  6. Clear the check box for the axes you want to hide.

  7. Select the check boxes for the axes you want to display.