Straightforward interpretation of excitations is possible if they can be described as simple single orbital-to-orbital (or double, etc.) transitions. In linear response time-dependent density functional theory (LR-TDDFT), the (ground state) Kohn-Sham orbitals prove to be such an orbital basis. In contrast, in a basis of natural orbitals (NOs) or Hartree-Fock orbitals, excitations often employ many orbitals and are accordingly hard to characterize. We demonstrate that it is possible in these cases to transform to natural excitation orbitals (NEOs) which resemble very closely the KS orbitals and afford the same simple description of excitations. The desired transformation has been obtained by diagonalization of a submatrix in the equations of linear response time-dependent 1-particle reduced density matrix functional theory (LR-TDDMFT) for the NO transformation, and that of a submatrix in the linear response time-dependent Hartree-Fock (LR-TDHF) equations for the transformation of HF orbitals. The corresponding submatrix is already diagonal in the KS basis in the LR-TDDFT equations. While the orbital shapes of the NEOs afford the characterization of the excitations as (mostly) simple orbital-to-orbital transitions, the orbital energies provide a fair estimate of excitation energies.