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Article ID: 214348 - Last Review: October 14, 2013 - Revision: 3.0

This article was previously published under Q214348
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.


When you format an axis in a chart by using a time scale in Microsoft Excel, 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.

For an example of this problem, see the "More Information" section in this article.


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.
NOTE: This problem is more likely to occur in Microsoft Excel for Macintosh than in Microsoft Excel 2000, because Microsoft Excel for Macintosh uses the 1904 Date System by default. The problem does not occur when Microsoft Excel uses the 1900 Date System.

Specifically, the problem occurs because Microsoft Excel uses the 1900 Date System for the serial date values 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 that are 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.

  • Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
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