How to Change Chart Names on the Vertical and Horizontal Axis in Excel

By David Nield

Excel chart labels, colors and formats can all be customized quickly and easily.
i Jason Reed/Photodisc/Getty Images

Excel is a powerful spreadsheet tool suitable for a broad range of business tasks, from keeping records of accounts to making sales projections. The software includes a comprehensive charting tool capable of collating and visualizing large amounts of data, and most aspects of the chart can be customized to suit your requirements, including the chart title and axis labels.

Start Excel and open the workbook containing the relevant chart. Click anywhere on the chart to select it and activate the chart options.

Click the "Layout" tab under the Chart Tools heading on the menu. Click the "Axis Titles" button, point to "Primary Horizontal Axis Title" and then choose "Title Below Axis."

Click the "Axis Titles" button again and point to "Primary Verticle Axis Title." Select one of the options that appear based on whether you require rotated, vertical or horizontal text for the axis title.

Click inside the vertical axis text box to modify the label text to whatever you require. Switch to the "Home" tab on the ribbon menu to make changes to the text font, color and size. Repeat the process for the horizontal access label.

Click and drag the edges of the vertical and horizontal label boxes to reposition them. Labels appear centered on each axis by default when they are first created.


Other chart elements, such as the chart title, data labels and the legend, can be modified by clicking on the element inside the chart or using the relevant options on the Layout section of the Chart Tools tab. Use the Axes button, for example, to change settings such as number intervals and label positioning.

Right-click on the chart and choose "Select Data" to modify the data used to create it.

Use axis labels that are informative and unambiguous. Remember that those viewing the chart within the spreadsheet or in printing form may not be familiar with the data it contains.