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

In Excel, adding a second Y-axis to a chart can help you compare two different data sets with different scales more clearly. Simply, you start by inserting your data into a chart, then add the secondary Y-axis through the chart tools. This is a quick way to improve the readability of your data visualizations.

How to Add Second Y Axis in Excel

When you follow these steps, you’ll be able to add a second Y-axis to your Excel chart, making it easier to compare two sets of data that have different value ranges.

Step 1: Select Your Data

Highlight the data you want to chart, including both sets of data.

This is the first step because selecting your data ensures that both sets of information are included in the chart. If you miss this step, your chart won’t display all the information you need.

Step 2: Insert a Chart

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and choose a chart type (like Line or Column Chart).

Here, you’re actually creating the chart. Make sure you pick a chart type that best represents your data. Line charts are often a good choice for time series data.

Step 3: Select the Data Series to Add to Secondary Axis

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

Selecting the data series you want to plot on the second Y-axis tells Excel which data set needs a different scale.

Step 4: Format Data Series

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

This opens up a menu where you can adjust various settings for the data series.

Step 5: Add Secondary Axis

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

Choosing ‘Secondary Axis’ adds a second Y-axis to your chart, allowing you to differentiate between the two data sets easily.

Step 6: Fine-Tune Your Chart

Adjust the chart elements as needed for better readability.

You can modify things like axis titles, data labels, and chart styles to make your chart easier to understand.

After completing these steps, you’ll see a second Y-axis on your chart. This will allow you to compare two sets of data that have different scales more effectively.

Tips for Adding Second Y Axis in Excel

  • Choose the Right Chart Type: Different charts work better for different types of data. Make sure to pick one that suits your needs.
  • Label Your Axes Clearly: Make sure to add axis titles so that anyone looking at your chart can easily understand what each axis represents.
  • Use Different Colors: Differentiate the data series with different colors to make them easily distinguishable.
  • Double-Check Your Data: Ensure that both sets of data are correctly selected and represented in the chart.
  • Customize for Clarity: Adjust elements like gridlines, data labels, and chart titles to enhance readability.

Frequently Asked Questions about Adding Second Y Axis in Excel

Why would I need a second Y-axis?

A second Y-axis is useful when you have two data sets with different scales. It helps in comparing them more effectively.

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

No, only certain types of charts, like Line and Column charts, support the addition of a second Y-axis.

How do I remove a secondary Y-axis?

You can remove it by right-clicking on the data series plotted on the secondary axis and deselecting ‘Secondary Axis’ in the ‘Format Data Series’ pane.

What if my chart becomes too cluttered?

Simplify by removing unnecessary data points or using a different chart type that better suits your needs.

Do I need any special version of Excel?

Most versions of Excel, including Excel 2010 and later, support this feature.


  1. Select Your Data
  2. Insert a Chart
  3. Select the Data Series to Add to Secondary Axis
  4. Format Data Series
  5. Add Secondary Axis
  6. Fine-Tune Your Chart


And there you have it! Adding a second Y-axis in Excel can turn a confusing mess of data into a clear and comprehensible chart. This feature is especially handy when dealing with data sets that have vastly different scales. By following these steps, you can make your charts more informative and user-friendly.

If you found this tutorial helpful, why not dive deeper into Excel’s myriad other features? From pivot tables to conditional formatting, Excel has a lot to offer. Until next time, happy charting!

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