Chart axis may be four years early after you format scale in Excel for Mac

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Article ID: 274277 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you format an axis in a chart by using a time scale, the axis may begin and end four years too early.

For example, if you want the axis to start at year 1990 and end at year 1999, it may actually start at year 1986 and end in year 1995.


This problem may occur if the following conditions are true:
  • You type a serial date value in the Minimum or Maximum box on the Scale tab in the Format Axis dialog box.

  • You are using the 1904 Date System in Microsoft Excel for Mac. To use the 1904 Date System, follow these steps:
    1. On the Edit menu (or Excel menu in Microsoft Excel X for Mac), click Preferences.
    2. Click the Calculation tab.
    3. Click to select the 1904 date system check box. Click OK.
The dates in the Minimum and Maximum boxes are 1986 and 1995, not 1990 and 1999 as expected. If you reenter the dates as 3/31/1990 and 3/31/1999, the axis scale appears correctly.

NOTE: This problem does not occur when Excel for Mac uses the 1900 Date System; however, Excel for Mac uses the 1904 Date System by default. Specifically, the problem occurs because Excel for Mac uses the 1904 Date System for the serial date values that you type in the Minimum and Maximum boxes.


To work around this problem, do not type serial date values in the Minimum and Maximum boxes on the Scale tab of the Format Axis dialog box. Instead, type the dates as you would normally type them in a worksheet. For example, use the formats in the following table:
   Example            Note
   1/10/1998          Month-day-year order
   31/3/1998          Day-month-year order; for most non-United States
   October 13, 1998   Fully spelled date
   16 October 1998    Fully spelled date


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.


Article ID: 274277 - Last Review: November 2, 2013 - Revision: 4.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Excel 2004 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel X for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 2001 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 98 for Macintosh
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