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

Adding a second Y-Axis on Excel can significantly enhance your data representation, especially when dealing with diverse datasets requiring different scales. This quick overview will guide you through the steps to add a second Y-Axis to your Excel chart, making your data visually comparative and easy to understand.

After adding a second Y-Axis, your chart will allow you to plot data series with different value ranges side by side, making it easier to spot trends and anomalies.


Excel, Microsoft’s powerful spreadsheet software, has long been a staple in the world of data analysis. It offers numerous features and tools that help users to visualize data in a meaningful way. One such feature is the ability to add a second Y-Axis to a chart. This can be particularly useful when you’re trying to compare different data series that have varying scales of measurement.

But why is this important? Imagine you’re analyzing the performance of two different products. Product A’s sales are in the thousands, while Product B’s sales are in the millions. If you plot both on the same Y-Axis, Product A’s sales may appear insignificant, which misrepresents the data. By adding a second Y-Axis, you can accurately display each product’s performance on its individual scale, making your comparison fair and easy to understand.

This feature is relevant to anyone who deals with data—business analysts, researchers, students, and even home budgeters. If you’re ready to step up your Excel game and make your charts more informative, keep reading!

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding a Second Y-Axis on Excel

Adding a second Y-Axis to your Excel chart isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. The following steps will guide you through the process and have your data looking sharp in no time.

Step 1: Select your data

Select the data you want to include in your chart.

Once you’ve selected your data, Excel will highlight the range, which is your cue that it’s ready to be charted.

Step 2: Insert a chart

Go to the Insert tab and choose the chart type that best fits your data.

Not all chart types support a secondary axis, so stick with line, column, or bar charts to avoid any hassle.

Step 3: Add the second Y-Axis

Right-click on the data series you want to plot on the second Y-Axis and select “Format Data Series.”

This will open a pane on the right side of your Excel window, where you’ll find the option to add a secondary axis.

Step 4: Adjust your secondary axis

Once the second Y-Axis is added, you can adjust its scale and format just as you would with the primary axis.

Remember, the goal is to make your data easily comparable, so ensure the scales are set in a way that makes sense for your data series.


Enhanced comparisonAdding a second Y-Axis allows for a clearer comparison of two data sets with different value ranges.
Better data representationIt helps avoid misrepresentation of data, ensuring all data points are visible and proportionate.
Customizable scalesEach Y-Axis can be adjusted independently, providing flexibility in how data is displayed.


ComplexityFor new Excel users, adding a second Y-Axis might seem complicated and intimidating.
Chart readabilityIf not done carefully, charts with two Y-Axes can become cluttered and difficult to read.
MisinterpretationThere’s a risk of misinterpreting the data if viewers don’t realize there are two different scales in use.

Additional Information

When dealing with dual axis charts, it’s crucial to maintain clarity and avoid confusion. Make sure your axes are clearly labeled with their respective units or variables. This will help viewers instantly understand that they’re looking at two different scales. Also, consider using distinct colors or styles for the data series corresponding to each Y-Axis to help differentiate them at a glance.

Another tip is to use the secondary axis sparingly. Not all charts need it, and sometimes, simpler is better. It’s all about the story you’re trying to tell with your data. If adding a second Y-Axis adds value to that story, then by all means, go for it! But if it’s just going to complicate things, it might be worth reconsidering.

Lastly, remember that the second Y-Axis in Excel is a tool to enhance your data visualization. It’s not just about making your chart look cool—it’s about making your data more understandable and actionable.


  1. Select your data
  2. Insert a chart
  3. Add the second Y-Axis
  4. Adjust your secondary axis

Frequently Asked Questions

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

No, not all chart types support a secondary axis. Stick with line, column, or bar charts.

Will adding a second Y-Axis affect the primary axis?

No, each axis can be adjusted independently without affecting the other.

Can I use a second Y-Axis on a pie chart?

No, pie charts do not support a secondary axis. They represent data as a part of a whole, making a second axis irrelevant.

How many data series can I plot on the second Y-Axis?

You can plot as many data series as needed, provided it makes sense for your data and doesn’t clutter the chart.

Is it possible to have more than two Y-Axes in Excel?

No, Excel supports only one secondary axis, providing two Y-Axes in total for your chart.


Adding a second Y-Axis on Excel can transform an ordinary chart into an insightful visualization tool. It allows for simultaneous comparison of different data series with varying scales, making your charts more informative and easier to interpret.

Remember to label your axes clearly, use distinct styles for different data series, and apply this feature judiciously to avoid clutter and confusion. With practice, you’ll find that adding a second Y-Axis is a simple yet powerful way to step up your data analysis game.

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