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Positive/negative axis labels on a bar chart


This example uses a dummy data series to plot the category name either side of the axis depending on whether the bar is positive or negative.
Create a bar chart on the data in the range A1:B11
As you can see the category labels on the negative side of the axis are obscured by the bars
For this example I have already reversed the plot order of the bars to match that of the data, see here for details
1 Score
2 One 0.18 -0.36
3 Two -0.36 0.47
4 Three 0.47 -0.36
5 Four -0.17 0.47
6 Five 0.08 -0.36
7 Six -0.23 0.47
8 Seven 0.44 -0.36
9 Eight 0.20 -0.36
10 Nine -0.09 0.47
11 Ten -0.07 0.47


One possible way around this is to set category axis tick mark labels to the Low position.


But to keep the text next to the axis whilst not being obscured by the bars you can do the following.
Add the following formula to C2: =IF(B2<0,MAX($B$2:$B$11),MIN($B$2:$B$11))
and then copy down to C11. Add this new data series to the chart.


Double click either series and change the Overlap value to 100




Now format the category axis to remove the axis labels by setting the Tick mark labels to None.


Apply Data labels to the new dummy series, displaying category name.


Change the data labels position to Inside Base


giving you a chart that displays the category name opposite the bar
Finally set the Pattern Fill and Border to None for the dummy series. Remove the legend.


This technique will also work with column charts

Created August 2004
Last updated 5th August 2014 

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