How to Rotate X-Axis Labels & More in Excel Graphs

Yes, rotating the text in our label and axis adds a bit of style. However, when creating a graph or chart in Excel, the orientation of the labels on the x-axis can be crucial to the readability and overall effectiveness of the data visualization. In some cases, the default orientation of the labels may be too crowded or difficult to read. So rotating them can help to alleviate this issue.

How to Rotate Labels in X-axis

  1. Highlight and Right-Click x-axis the graph.
  2. Go to and Select to the “Format”.
  3. In the Format Axis pane, under “Axis Options”, click third icon from the left(Size and Properties).
  4. Under the Alignment section, in “Text Direction”, enter the angle you want.
Adding rotation to your axis is an easy 4 step process.

How to Rotate Other Labels on Your Graph

This is just as simple as before. Now that you have the fundamental steps on how to rotate the labels on the x-axis, you can easily. You just need to follow the instructions that you did in the previous section.

  1. Highlight and Right-click the labels on your graph
  2. Click Format Data Lables
  3. In the Format Data Labels Pane, Click the third icon from the left. (Size and Properties)
  4. Under Alignment, enter the angle you desire in Text Direction.

Gaelim Holland

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1 year ago

Doesn’t work
Ordinary line chart in Excel 365 has options for vertical and 90 degree rotate etc. but custom angle is greyed out.

It has worked before as I have very similar charts with 45 degree text on the horizontal axis.

Any ideas?

1 year ago

Thanks. Helps ALOT!

10 months ago

Weirdly, mine was labeled as horizontal but wasn’t. I had to change the setting to another, then back to horizontal. Thank you, never would have figured that out on my own without this pointing out that yeah, that was the setting to mess with.

6 months ago

Thank you. I looked everywhere for this answer. It worked.