Howto: Replacing axes in Origin without changing the data

Recently, my co-worker and me had to replace an axis of one of our plots in Origin [1]. We measured a signal over time and, actually, wanted to just add a little offset without changing the data. We didn’t want to go through the get-a-nice-matrix-out-of-your-data-for-3D-plotting-torture, again.

First, open your plot you want to modify. Right click a little outside of the plot and select ‘New layer’->’Open dialog…’. In this dialog choose ‘custom’ and then select the axes you want to replace. In our case we want to replace the x-axes only, so we select ‘bottom’. Link the axes with ‘layer1’ and choose ‘custom’ for both x– and y–axes (this is important even when you want to replace only one axis!). Hit ‘Ok’.

Origin has inserted a new layer with a new axis directly above the old x-axis. Select the first layer again (button in the top-left corner), and double click on the old axis to open the properties dialog. Deselect both ‘Show labels’ and ‘Show axis and title’ (under ‘title and format’). Hit ‘Ok’ and the whole axis should have disappeared. (Note: There is an option ‘Hide axis’ when you right click the axis, but this will not hide the label.)

Select the second layer and modify the new x–axis as you like. You can choose the numbers and the scaling as you like, it will not rescale the shown data (which can be done by scaling the hidden x–axis on the first layer). In this exemplary case we just added an time offset of 75 seconds to both start and end of the axis. The following figure shows the plot before and after the replacement.

Figure 1. The plot before (left) and after (right) the replacement of the axis.

Figure 1. The plot before (left) and after (right) the replacement of the axis. Random data was generated by

This procedure was done in Origin 8.5. Of course(?), there might be a much more easier option for adding a offset in Origin. However, this software is sooo overloaded with features that we did not find or recognized one. Additionally, the herein described method is also suitable for exchanging an axis (or all axes), completely. For instant, if you need to replace a ‘sequences’ or ‘fractions’–axis by an time–axis.


  1. " OriginLab - Origin and OriginPro - Data Analysis and Graphing Software "