How to Add a Second Axis in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Add a Second Axis in Excel

Adding a second axis in Excel allows you to visualize two sets of data with different ranges on the same chart. This is super handy when you want to compare two different datasets that don’t share the same scale. In just a few steps, you can overlay these datasets and gain better insights from your data.

Adding a Second Axis in Excel

Adding a secondary axis in Excel helps you present complex data in a more understandable way. Follow these steps to add a second axis to your Excel chart:

Step 1: Select Your Data

Highlight the data ranges you want to include in your chart.

Ensure that you select both datasets you want to compare, as this will allow them to be visualized together on the chart.

Step 2: Insert a Chart

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and choose the type of chart you want (e.g., Column, Line).

Choosing the right chart type is crucial as it will make understanding the data easier. Bar and line charts work well for adding a second axis.

Step 3: Click on the Chart

Click on one of the data series in the chart to highlight it.

This step is important because you need to specify which data series will use the secondary axis.

Step 4: Format the Data Series

Right-click on the selected data series and choose ‘Format Data Series.’

This will open a menu on the side of your screen with various options for formatting your data.

Step 5: Select Secondary Axis

In the ‘Format Data Series’ pane, choose the ‘Secondary Axis’ option.

Selecting this option will shift your data series to the secondary axis, making it easier to compare two different sets of data.

Step 6: Adjust the Chart as Needed

Customize the chart by adjusting the axis titles, colors, and other formatting options.

Fine-tuning your chart will make your data even more comprehensible and visually appealing.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your chart will now have two axes, allowing you to compare your datasets more effectively.

Tips for Adding a Second Axis in Excel

  • Choose the Right Chart Type: Different chart types can make your data clearer or more confusing. Bar and line charts often work best.
  • Label Your Axes Clearly: Make sure your primary and secondary axes are well-labeled to avoid any confusion.
  • Use Contrasting Colors: Differentiating between your datasets with distinct colors can make your chart easier to read.
  • Keep It Simple: Avoid cluttering your chart with too much information. Focus on the key data points.
  • Update Regularly: Ensure your chart remains accurate by updating the data regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I need a second axis?

Using a second axis is useful when comparing two datasets with different scales, making it easier to see trends and relationships.

Can I add a second axis to any chart type?

Most commonly, secondary axes are used with line, bar, or column charts. Some chart types may not support secondary axes.

What if my data updates frequently?

If your data updates often, consider using dynamic charts that automatically adjust based on new data inputs.

How do I remove a secondary axis?

To remove a secondary axis, go back to ‘Format Data Series’ and select ‘Primary Axis’ instead of ‘Secondary Axis.’

Can I customize the secondary axis?

Yes, you can format the secondary axis just like the primary one, including changing scales, labels, and colors.


  1. Select your data.
  2. Insert a chart.
  3. Click on the chart.
  4. Format the data series.
  5. Select secondary axis.
  6. Adjust the chart as needed.


Adding a second axis in Excel is a simple yet powerful way to compare two datasets with different ranges. By following these steps, you can create a more informative and visually appealing chart. Remember to choose the right chart type, label your axes clearly, and keep your design simple. This will make your data easier to understand and more impactful. If you frequently work with complex data, mastering the skill of adding a second axis will be a game-changer. Happy charting!

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