How to Make the X Axis Start on the First Data Point in Excel

By C. Taylor

Starting with the first data point makes relationships easier to identify.
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Microsoft Excel 2013 automatically determines a range for data on the X and Y axes. This range typically begins with zero, but Excel might use a different starting point if the data warrants it. This range often creates large, unsightly gaps on the X axis. It might also make small differences in large data points difficult to identify. By starting the X axis on the first data point, you remove the empty space and make differences easier to see.

Step 1

Move your mouse pointer over the furthest data point to the left of the chart. A pop-up appears that identifies the exact value of the point. Depending on your chart type, this value might include one or two numbers. If it has two numbers, read just the first one. If it's difficult to determine which data point is furthest to the left, read each of the left data points and remember the smallest.

Step 2

Right-click any number from the X axis, and click "Format Axis" from the pop-up menu.

Step 3

Change the "Minimum" value in the "Bounds" group to the first data point you previously identified.

Step 4

Press "Enter" or click anywhere in the data or chart area to apply the change.