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There are plenty of ways to customize a chart you create in Excel. If you want to make sure your chart is clear to those viewing it, you can add vertical or horizontal axis titles and customize those too.

Add Axis Titles to a Chart in Excel

Select your chart and then head to the Chart Design tab that displays. Click the Add Chart Element drop-down arrow and move your cursor to Axis Titles. In the pop-out menu, select “Primary Horizontal,” “Primary Vertical,” or both.

Select Primary Horizontal, Primary Vertical, or both

If you’re using Excel on Windows, you can also use the Chart Elements icon on the right of the chart. Check the box for Axis Titles, click the arrow to the right, then check the boxes for the horizontal, vertical, or both titles.

Check the box for Primary Horizontal, Primary Vertical, or both

When the axis title you select appears on the chart, it has a default name of Axis Title. Select the text box containing the default title and add your own.

Axis titles added in Excel

RELATED: How to Create a Combo Chart in Excel

Customize the Axis Titles on a Chart

You can customize both the axis title boxes and the text within those boxes. And you have a few different ways to go about it.

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First, right-click an axis title to display the floating toolbar. You’ll see options for Style, Fill, and Outline.

Use the floating toolbar

Use the drop-down arrows next to any of these options to apply a theme, use a gradient or texture, or choose a border style and color.

Select Style to apply a theme

To take your customization a bit further, start by opening the Format Axis Title sidebar. You can either right-click a title and select “Format Axis Title” or double-click one of the titles.

Select Format Axis Title

At the top of the sidebar, make sure you see Title Options. Then use the three tabs directly below it for Fill & Line, Effects, and Size & Properties to make your adjustments.

You can do things like change the fill or border, add a shadow or glow, or adjust the alignment.

Customize the Title Options

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To customize the font, select Text Options at the top of the sidebar. Then use the tabs for Text Fill & Outline, Text Effects, and Text box.

You can then do things like change the font color or transparency, use a 3-D format, or change the text direction.

Customize the Text Options

RELATED: How to Create a Geographical Map Chart in Microsoft Excel

Remove Axis Titles From a Chart

If you decide later to remove one or both axis titles, it’s just as easy as adding them.

Select the chart and go to the Chart Design tab. Click the Add Chart Element drop-down arrow, move your cursor to Axis Titles, and deselect “Primary Horizontal,” “Primary Vertical,” or both.

Deselect Primary Horizontal, Primary Vertical, or both

In Excel on Windows, you can also click the Chart Elements icon and uncheck the box for Axis Titles to remove them both. If you want to keep one title, use the arrow next to Axis Titles and mark the one you want.

Uncheck Axis Titles

If you’re looking for help with a particular graph, take a look at how to create and customize a waterfall chart or a funnel chart in Microsoft Excel.

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With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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