6.2.1 Multiple Axis Breaks


Origin supports multiple breaks on an axis as shown below. The number of breaks and the break positions can be customized in the Axis dialog box. Furthermore, you can add recession bars( the "vertical bars" shown as below) by adding multiple reference lines on the X axis and fill the gaps between them.

Multiple Axis Breaks 01.png

Minimum Origin Version Required: 2017 SR0

What you will learn

This tutorial will show you how to:

  • Add multiple breaks to both X and Y axes
  • Customize axis tick label format
  • Fill spans that are broken by missing values vertically

Steps to Customize Label Display and Add Axis Breaks

This tutorial is associated with the Multiple Axis Breaks folder of the sample project <Origin EXE Folder>\Samples\TutorialData.opj.
Also, you can see this graph in Learning Center(Select Help: Learning Center menu or press F11 key). It is listed under the Line and Symbol sample graph table. Double-clicking on the thumbnail will open the target folder.

  1. Activate the workbook. Highlight Col(A) and Col(B) and select Plot > Basic 2D: Line from the main menu to plot a line graph. Select and delete the legend.
  2. To customize the graph axes double click on an axis to open the Axis dialog box. Click the Horizontal icon in Scale tab and set the X axis scale as graph below:
    Multiple Axis Breaks 04.png
  3. Go to Bottom icon in Tick Labels tab, change the display format of tick labels to 16(means year as yy) and add a prefix '.
    Multiple Axis Breaks 05.png
  4. In order to add several breaks to the X axis select the Horizontal icon in Breaks tab . Check the Enable box and set 3 axis breaks.
    Multiple Axis Breaks 07a.png
  5. Click the Details... button to open the Breaks Details dialog, set Break1 from 12/1/1961 to 9/1/1972:
    Multiple Axis Breaks 07c.png
  6. Select the Break 2 node in the left panel, change it to be from 3/31/1977 to 8/29/1980. Switch to Break 3 node, change it to be from 7/27/1984 to 3/1/2007. Click the OK button to apply and exit the Break Details dialog and in the Axis dialog, click the Apply button to view the changes.
  7. To customize the Y axis, select the Left icon under the Tick Labels tab and use the format Engineering:1k as the tick label display. Set the prefix as "$". Click Apply to view the changes in the graph.
    Multiple Axis Breaks 08.png
  8. Go to the Breaks tab again and with the Vertical tab selected, enable 2 axis breaks at scale value 3.1 T to 4.5T and 6.7T to 12.5T, as we had done for the X axis in Step 4 to 6.
  9. Click OK to apply the settings and get the graph similar as follows:
    Multiple Axis Breaks 01 2.png

Steps to Add Recession Bars

  1. Double-click on X axis to open the Axis dialog. Go to Reference Lines tab, click the interactive button Button Select Data Interactive.png beside the Reference Lines at Value text box to select col(C) from worksheet. The x coordinates of all recession periods will be listed in the display table as reference lines. Then check Alternate Fill box to fill each period.
    Multiple Axis Breaks 02.png
  2. Click OK to apply the settings.
    Multiple Axis Breaks 01 3.png

More Customization Steps

The following steps can further customize the graph to be exactly the same as the image in Summary.

  1. Double click X axis title Date in the graph and rename it as Year.
  2. To change Y axis range, double click on Y axis to open the Axis dialog. Go to the Scale tab with Vertical icon selected, set From, To, Major and Minor ticks as below.
    Multiple Axis Breaks 09.png
  3. Go to the Breaks tab again, select the first axis break and click Details to open the Break Details dialog with the Break 1 node selected. Clear the Auto check box next to the break position option and change it to 38%. Clear the Auto Scale check box and then change the tick settings as below:
    Multiple Axis Breaks 10b.png
  4. Select Break 2 node, set break position, Major Ticks and minor ticks as below:
    Multiple Axis Breaks 10c.png
  5. Click OK to apply and exit the Breaks Details dialog. Click Apply in the Axis dialog to apply settings.
  6. Select Grids tab. Select both Vertical and Horizontal icons on the left panel, check Opposite to show a frame around top and right axes.
  7. Right click in a blank area inside graph layer 1 and select Add/Modify Layer Title from the context menu. Enter US Recessions and Recoveries as the layer title.
  8. Adjust the page dimension with Graph node selected in Plot Details dialog.
    Multiple Axis Breaks 12.png