Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Pie Charts Make Horrible Time Comparisons
potential problems force Excel to choose a text-based axis instead of a date-based axis. For
example, Excel will choose a text-based axis when dates are stored as text in a spreadsheet
and when dates are represented by numeric years. The list following Figure 3.7 summarizes
other potential problems.
To explicitly choose an axis type, follow these steps:
1. Right-click the horizontal axis and select Format Axis.
2. In the Format Axis dialog box that appears, select the Axis Options category.
3. As appropriate, choose either Text Axis or Date Axis from the Axis Type section (see
Figure 3.7).
Figure 3.7
You can explicitly choose
an axis type rather than
letting Excel choose the
default.
3
Type Settings
A number of complications that require special handling can occur with date fields. The
following are some of the problems you might encounter:
Dates stored as text— If dates are stored as text dates instead of real dates, a
datebased axis will never work. You have to use date functions to convert the text dates to
real dates.
Dates represented by numeric years— Trend charts can have category values of
2008, 2009, 2010, and so on. Excel does not naturally recognize these as dates, but you
can trick it into doing so. Read “Plotting Data by Numeric Year” near Figure 3.15 in
this chapter.
Dates before 1900— If your company is old enough to chart historical trends before
January 1, 1900, you will have a problem. In Excel’s world, there are no dates before
1900. For a workaround, read “Using Dates Before 1900” around Figure 3.16.
 
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