How To Add A Secondary Axis Excel

How To Articles

Adding a secondary axis in Excel can be a game-changer when it comes to visualizing your data. It’s a feature that I’ve found incredibly useful in my own work, so I’m excited to share with you how to do it.

Understanding the Need for a Secondary Axis

Before diving into the process of adding a secondary axis, it’s important to understand why and when you might need one. A secondary axis comes in handy when you have two different data sets with vastly different scales. Without a secondary axis, one set of data may dominate the chart, making it difficult to observe the trends in the other set. By adding a secondary axis, you can effectively display both data sets on the same chart without sacrificing clarity.

Step-by-Step Guide

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of adding a secondary axis in Excel.

  1. Start by creating a chart with your data as you normally would.
  2. Next, select the data series for which you want to add a secondary axis. You can simply click on the data series in the chart to select it.
  3. With the data series selected, right-click and choose “Format Data Series” from the context menu.
  4. In the Format Data Series pane that appears, you should see an option to “Plot Series On” where you can select “Secondary Axis.”
  5. Click on “Secondary Axis” and you should see the selected data series move to the secondary axis, effectively giving you a dual-axis chart.

Adjusting the Secondary Axis

Once you’ve added the secondary axis, it’s important to make sure that the scales on both axes make sense for your data. Excel usually does a decent job of automatically scaling the axes, but you may need to fine-tune the minimum, maximum, and interval values for the secondary axis to ensure clarity in your chart.

Final Touches

After adding and adjusting the secondary axis, take the time to format your chart to make it visually appealing and easy to understand. This can include adding axis titles, data labels, or any other necessary elements to provide context to your audience.


Adding a secondary axis in Excel can significantly enhance the way you present and analyze your data. With a bit of practice, you’ll find that it’s a powerful tool for creating insightful and visually appealing charts. So, next time you’re working with data sets of varying scales, don’t hesitate to leverage the secondary axis feature in Excel!