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How to Add Secondary Axis in Excel and Google Sheets

When we have two different yet related pieces of information then we need to show them on Y-axis on a single chart. Excel secondary axis allows us to show two Y-axis data series with two different scales using the same X-axis. We will learn how to add secondary axis in Excel based on following versions;

  • Using Excel 2010 and Earlier Versions
  • Using Excel 2013 and Later Versions

Figure 1. How to Add Secondary Axis in Excel

Using Excel 2010 and Earlier Versions

We can create one data series at a time on a secondary axis. But when the values of data series vary then we can plot more than one data series on secondary axis Excel. Suppose we have monthly revenue and profit margin data series in terms of dollar amounts and percentages in a table range B1:D7.

Figure 2. Data Series Table

Creating a Chart

We select the data table B1: D7 and create the 2-D chart in Excel 2010 and earlier versions by following these steps;

  • Click on Insert tab and go to Charts section
  • Click on Column and select 2-D Clustered Column Chart

Figure 3. Selecting 2-D Clustered Column Chart

A 2-D Clustered Column chart is generated showing “Months” in X-axis and Revenue on Y-axis (primary axis). But we need to show “Profit Margin” data series on the secondary axis.

Figure 4. Creating 2-D Clustered Column Chart

Add Secondary Data Series

To add the second Y axis Excel 2010, we must have the 2-D chart secondary axis are not supported in 3-D charts. We need to follow the below steps to add secondary data series (Profit Margin) on Y-axis;

  • Click the Chart
  • Go to Chart Tools > Select Format tab
  • From Current Selection click on Chart Element drop-down arrow
  • Select series “Profit Margin

Figure 5. Adding a Secondary Data Series

  • Click on Format Selection in Current Section to open Format Data Series dialog
  • Select Secondary Axis from Plot Series On options

Figure 6. Format Secondary Data Series

Figure 7. Secondary Axis Excel

  • In the Chart Area, click on secondary data series bar (Profit Margin)
  • Go to Design tab > From Type section click on Change Chart Type
  • Select the Line Chart type for Excel Secondary Axis

Figure 8. Changing Chart Type For Secondary Data Series

Figure 9. Secondary Axis Excel 2010

Using Excel 2013 and Later Versions

To add secondary axis Excel 2013 and later versions we need to follow the following procedure while setting up the secondary data series (Profit Margin) in 2-D Clustered Column chart.

  • Select Data Table B1: D7 and Insert 2-D Clustered Column Chart

Figure 10. Inserting 2-D Column Chart

  • Click on chart to open Chart Tools. Go to Design > Change Chart Type.

Figure 11. Change Chart Type

  • Select Combo > Cluster Column – Line on Secondary Axis.
  • Choose Secondary Axis for the data series “Profit Margin”.
  • Click the drop-down arrow and choose Line.
  • Press the OK button.

Figure 12. Add Secondary Axis Excel 2013

Figure 13. Secondary Axis Excel

Most of the time, the problem you will need to solve will be more complex than a simple application of a formula or function. If you want to save hours of research and frustration, try our live Excelchat service! Our Excel Experts are available 24/7 to answer any Excel question you may have. We guarantee a connection within 30 seconds and a customized solution within 20 minutes.

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