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

Adding a second axis in Excel is a powerful way to visualize data that has different scales or units. By combining two different sets of data on the same chart, you make it easier to see trends and correlations. Here’s how you can do it step-by-step.

How to Add Second Axis in Excel

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to add a second axis to an Excel chart, making it easier to compare two sets of data with different ranges. Follow these steps to achieve a dual-axis chart.

Step 1: Select Your Data

Highlight the data you want to include in your chart, including both data sets.

Make sure you include the headers for clarity. This will make it easier to create a meaningful chart later.

Step 2: Insert a Chart

Click on the “Insert” tab and select the type of chart you want to use, such as a line or bar chart.

Choosing the right chart type is crucial. Line charts are great for showing trends, while bar charts can compare different categories.

Step 3: Format the Data Series

Click on the chart to activate it, then right-click one of the data series and choose "Format Data Series."

This step allows you to customize different aspects of the data, including which axis to plot the series on.

Step 4: Add the Second Axis

In the “Format Data Series” pane, find the option for "Plot Series On" and select "Secondary Axis."

You’ll notice that the selected data series jumps to a new scale, making it easier to compare with the first data series.

Step 5: Adjust the Chart

Make any necessary adjustments to the chart, such as changing the axis labels or the chart title.

Double-clicking on different parts of the chart lets you edit them. This helps in making the chart more readable.

Once you complete these steps, your chart will now have two axes. This makes it easier to visualize data with different ranges or units, such as sales numbers and profit margins.

Tips for Adding Second Axis in Excel

  • Use different chart types for each data series to better visualize the differences.
  • Label both axes clearly to avoid confusion.
  • Use gridlines to make data points easier to read.
  • Adjust the scale of the secondary axis to match your data range.
  • Regularly update your chart to reflect new data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I need a second axis in an Excel chart?

A second axis is useful when you have two different sets of data with different ranges or units. It helps in making clearer comparisons.

Can I add a second axis to any type of chart?

Most common chart types like line, bar, and column charts support a second axis. However, some specialized charts may not.

How do I remove a second axis if I no longer need it?

Simply go back to the “Format Data Series” pane and select “Primary Axis.” The secondary axis will be removed.

What should I do if my data is still hard to compare even with a second axis?

Try using different chart types or adjusting the scales of your axes to make the data more readable.

Can I customize the appearance of the second axis?

Yes, you can format the second axis just like the primary one. You can change the font, color, and scale to suit your needs.


  1. Highlight your data.
  2. Insert a chart.
  3. Format the data series.
  4. Add the second axis.
  5. Adjust the chart.


Adding a second axis in Excel can transform your data visualization, making it easier to compare different metrics on the same chart. Whether you’re dealing with sales figures and profit margins or temperature and rainfall, this feature can make your data more accessible and understandable. Don’t forget to label your axes clearly and adjust the scales as needed.

If you found this tutorial helpful, consider exploring other Excel features that can enhance your data analysis skills. Excel offers a vast array of tools, and mastering them can make you more proficient and efficient in handling data. Happy charting!

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