Reference lines are horizontal or vertical lines that span the data region of a graph to designate goals or demarcations. For example, the reference line on this bar chart of monthly sales represents sales quotas.


You must use the scale units on the graph to position the reference lines. For example, if the y-scale has been transformed so that the tick marks are displayed in transformed units, you must enter the reference line position in the transformed units.

To add a reference line when you create a graph, click Scale. To add a reference line to an existing graph, click the graph and choose Editor > Add > Reference Lines. To edit a reference line, double-click it. On the Attributes tab, you can change the color, size, or line type.

Edit reference line labels

To edit the label for a reference line, double-click the label. On the Font tab, you can change the text, size, color, style, or font. On the Show tab, you can hide the label or move it to the other side of the graph. On the Alignment tab, you can change the following.

Text angle

Rotate the label, for example to make adjacent labels easier to read.

Text angle = 0 (default)
Text angle = 45
Change the position of the label relative to the point where the axis line and the reference line intersect (also called the anchor point). Under Position, choose Custom, then choose a position. For example, in the second ECDF plot below, the position of the top label is Above, to the right and the position of the bottom label is Below, to the right.
Default label positions
Custom label positions
Move the label horizontally or vertically relative to its current position. Under Offset, choose Custom, then specify the horizontal or vertical distance to move the label. For example, in the second bubble plot, the vertical offset of –0.06 makes the reference line label and the axis label easier to read.
Default label offset
Vertical offset = –0.06
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