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Excel Add Secondary Axis (Table of Contents)

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Introduction to Excel Secondary Axis Example of Secondary Axis in Excel

Below is an example that shows how the secondary axis works in Excel. For that, we need tabular data.

This data has two datasets,e Sales and Target Achieved %. As shown below, the graph will look like this when a secondary axis is added.

Sales amounts are shown in blue bars, whereas Targets are shown in the orange line represented in the vertical axis as shown above. Both the data sets are on Y-axis, but the second data set is added as a secondary axis to the same chart.


Representation of the two data sets in a single chart usually helps in better visualization from a reader’s and an analyst’s point of view. Below are the steps to add a secondary axis to an existing chart.

Steps to Add Secondary Axis in Excel

We’ll use the above table to demonstrate the addition of a secondary axis in the chart.

The data has “Month” in the first column and “Sales” and “Sales percentage” in the second and third columns, respectively. The secondary axis is based on a column chart. There are some steps to add a secondary axis.

The chart can now be seen with two axes, as per the image below.

The second method is using a column chart. We must plot a column chart first to show the sales in a graphical form.

A dialog box will open like this where we have to go to “All charts”, as shown below.

Now, the result is a secondary axis added to the chart.

The target achieved in percentage can now be seen in a second vertical axis in orange. March has the lowest sales percentage whereas May has the highest, as shown in the chart.

The second step is a manual method. Initially, the column chart needs to be created first.

From the “Current selection” drop-down menu, we must select “Series Target Achieved %”.

The goal fixed can be identified in column bars as shown below.

Now, we’ll press Ctrl+1 to open the format data series options.

Now, we’ll have to select the “Secondary Axis” from the options, and the chart will look like this, as shown below. We are switching over from the Primary Y-Axis to Secondary Y-Axis here.

From the options, we have to go to “Combo” and change the “Target achieved %” to “Line” instead of “Clustered”.

Now the result is a chart with a dual-axis, as shown below.

This way, we can add a secondary axis to an existing chart. The above steps are a bit different, but the output remains the same in all the steps. It helps in analyzing multiple data sets in an easier way. Apart from Excel, the Secondary axis can be added to Google Sheets, Power BI, Tableau, etc. But plotting the same in Excel is comparatively easy than in other visualization tools. Comparing the “Sales” is easier in the column chart, but we can compare profit margins from different months with this technique.

Things to Remember

The secondary axis requires a different chart from the primary axis chart.

This chart type is a clustered combo chart.

You can view secondary axis values from the right side vertical axis.

You can view the primary axis value from the left side of the axis.

Both the data sets need to have two-axis in a single chart.

The chart is based on a column bar chart.

Two data sets mean two columns from a single table.

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