I'm new to Numbers and now creating my first chart. I tried to find what I was looking for on google but couldn't find anything. What I would like to do is change the numbers in the Y axis to show has custom letters or words instead of numbers while still keeping their values, if that makes sense. For example:Image of Graph

Would that be possible?

Thank you for any help.

1 Answer 1


This admittedly is a bit of a hack but I can't find another solution that works in Numbers.

One way to make letters appear over the numeric values is to position textboxes with the letters over the values to block out the numbers below them. Just click the Text button in the toolbar, drag the textbox to the correct position, size it appropriately and set it to have a white fill colour and no border.

Example of Numbers chart with faked letters in place of certain numbers

  • Thank you! Of course I was hopping there would be a way for the numbers on the chart line to automatically update to letters has I change them in the Y-Axis because otherwise I will have to write 365 letter boxes (for every day of a year). But at least it works. When you say you couldn't find an other solution that works in Numbers did you mean you would know how to do this in an other mac application? If yes, it would be great if you could tell me which and how... This way I wouldn't have to write 365 text boxes! Thanks!
    – ULH
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 3:33
  • I'm not aware of any spreadsheet application that will let you do what you are wanting. There is a way to fake the Y axis in Excel but that doesn't also let you have the letters above the series. You can read this option here. peltiertech.com/Excel/Charts/Y_CategoryAxis.html Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 0:07

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