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Chapter 12. A Field Guide to Excel Chart Types > Common Problems and Solutions

Common Problems and Solutions

Q1:Can I move the Y-axis from left side of chart to the right side?
A1: You can move the Y-axis from the left side of most charts to the right side by following these steps:
  1. Double-click the X-axis (the category axis) to access the Format Axis dialog box.

  2. Move to the Scale tab.

  3. Select the Value (Y) Axis Crosses at Maximum Category.

  4. Click OK to close the dialog box.

While you can use this procedure for line, area, and column charts, you cannot perform the same feat for the 3-D variants of those charts. If you absolutely must do this with one of the 3-D chart subtypes, you can attempt a difficult workaround:

  1. Locate the chart on its own sheet. Use the Chart, Location command to relocate the chart from being embedded on a worksheet to its own chart sheet.

  2. Activate the Drawing toolbar.

  3. Using the Rectangle tool, draw a box over the Y-axis labels on the left side.

  4. Format the rectangle so that it uses no lines and contains a color that exactly matches the chart's background.

  5. Using the Text Box tool, manually create the Y-axis labels on the right side of the chart. Your job will be easier if the chart has horizontal gridlines against which you can align the Y-axis labels you add.

Q2:Can I use a secondary axis in my 3-D charts?
A2: Line, column, and bar charts let you plot individual data series against a secondary Y-axis. However, you cannot do this with the 3-D variants of the line, column, and bar charts. There is a difficult workaround, but it is only feasible for relatively simple charts.
  1. Plot the series of data that will remain against the left-hand (primary) Y-axis normally. Do not plot the series that you want to eventually show against a secondary Y-axis.

  2. Take a look at the chart and try to determine what measurements will make sense for the series that you want to plot against a secondary Y-axis, making sure that they fit within the primary Y-axis. For example, all of the primary Y-axis series might fit on a Y-axis that runs from 0 to 100 with axis labels every 10 units. The series that you want to plot against a secondary axis will fit if the secondary axis runs from 0 to 1000 with axis labels every 100 units.

  3. Transform the data for the secondary axis so that it complies with the primary axis. In the example given in step 2, you could divide the secondary axis numbers by 10 so that they fit in the 0-100 scale of the primary axis but are still proportionately correct.

  4. Add the transformed secondary axis series data to the chart.

  5. Manually add the secondary axis labels using the Text Box tool on the Drawing toolbar.

  6. Manually add an axis title to the secondary axis side of the chart.



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