Too much whitespace in Numbers graphs

Hi. I’m doing a line graph, in Numbers (Mac OS v5.3). I’ve got loads of whitespace. I really just want to ‘zoom in’ to what’s important. I’ve looked at the Format Inspector and checked on Google. But I can’t find anything obvious. I’ve attached a screenshot16

Thanks in advance

Click on the chart, then the Format button in the upper right-hand corner of the app. On the Axis tab under Axis Scale enter a value for “Min”.


Do keep in mind that there is a tradeoff here. While “zooming in” can help make variation more visible, it can also make it difficult for someone viewing the chart to get a sense of how significant that variation is.


You can set mininum and maximum values in the Axis tab. Set the minimum value to 60, or whatever value makes the most sense in your context.

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I guess your problem was already solved by the previous answers, but if I may, let me give you a word of caution: some people are very ticked off by manipulation of the y-axis, as it might be perceived as tricky or mischievous. It will depend on your public.


Hi everyone. Thanks for your responses. The option looked greyed out to me. I feel such a plank.

Thanks for your response - it’s not something I’d considered.

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It really depends upon your intent. In some cases, it makes no sense to have the Y axis always go to 0. For example, blood pH is tightly regulated around pH = 7.4, It rarely swings more than 0.2 points on either side, usually much less than this. If you want to display the effect of a drug or a physiological alteration on blood pH, you would probably have your scale run from 7.0 to 7.8 or 8.0. The graph would be ineffective to have it go to zero. There are many such examples. Anyone who objected to the Y axis not going to zero in such cases is just being a twit.

On the other hand, if your intent is to make an insignificant change look significant, or to make noise look like signal to the uninformed or casual viewer, then you’re Not a Good Person and you deserve to be called out.


When I see a graph with a non-zero origin for the Y axis it raises an immediate red flag. I assume someone is trying to show differences that are not significant or to hide something.

If you are looking at a graph of temperatures, will you accept only graphs expressed in Kelvins?

Because that is the only temperature scale with an actual zero.

If I display a graph showing seasonal temperature variation for any given region and I display the graph in anything other than Kelvins, am I being dishonest or trying to hide something?

Do you assume that if a temperature graph is displayed in ˚C or ˚F the the person creating the graph is trying to show differences that are not significant or that the person making the graph is trying to hide something? Because, after all, neither 0˚C nor 0˚F is a legitimate 0 anything.

If so, why would you assume such a thing?

If not, why do you make this exception to your blanket statement?

Sorry to have caused a controversy. Due to my professional background, I also have a predisposition against non-zero y-axis, and that’s why I commented. As I said, it’s dependent on your public and the kind of data you’re dealing with, but I think it pays to be careful with this kind of thing. Treat your data fast and loose (or give the impression that you are doing so) and risk alienating your public very quickly. But the presenter is always in the best position to make this call.

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I thought your comment was fine – you simply mentioned that some people – not all – raise an eyebrow if there is no zero on an axis. This is true.

I vehemently reject simplistic blanket statements like “If there is not a zero I ASSume dishonesty” because statements like that reveal a profound misunderstanding of how data should be handled as well as a tendency to apply overly broad “rules” to all situations.

It is similar to self-proclaimed grammarians who believe that it is wrong to blithely split infinitives or that a preposition is a word you should never end a sentence with. Such grammar police just reveal the limitations of their own grammatical understanding.

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