How to Add Secondary Axis in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding a secondary axis in Google Sheets can be a game-changer when it comes to presenting data that has different scales or units. It’s a straightforward process that involves creating a combo chart and then customizing it to fit your needs. By the end of this short intro, you’ll have a basic understanding of adding a secondary axis to your charts in Google Sheets.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Add Secondary Axis Google Sheets

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s clarify what we’re aiming for here. Adding a secondary axis allows you to plot data on two different scales on the same chart. This can be particularly useful when you have a set of data with large values and another with much smaller values. By following the steps below, you’ll be able to present your data more clearly and effectively.

Step 1: Select your data

First things first, highlight the data you want to include in your chart.

When selecting your data, make sure you include the headers. This will make it easier to differentiate between the various data sets once they’re plotted in the chart.

Step 2: Insert a chart

Click on ‘Insert’ in the top menu, then select ‘Chart’ from the dropdown.

Google Sheets will automatically insert a chart based on the data you’ve selected. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look right just yet; we’re going to tweak it in the following steps.

Step 3: Choose a combo chart

In the Chart editor, which appears on the right side of the screen, go to the ‘Chart type’ dropdown and select ‘Combo chart’.

The combo chart is the key to adding a secondary axis as it allows for different data to be plotted using different chart types within the same overall chart.

Step 4: Customize the series

Still in the Chart editor, scroll down to the ‘Series’ section. Here you can assign each data set to either the primary or secondary axis.

You’ll need to click on each series individually and select which axis to use from the dropdown menu in the Series options. Typically, you’ll put the data with larger values on the primary axis and the data with smaller values on the secondary axis.

Step 5: Adjust the secondary axis

After assigning your data to the appropriate axes, you can adjust the scale of the secondary axis to better fit your data.

You can tweak the scale of the secondary axis by clicking on it and adjusting the options in the ‘Axis’ section of the Chart editor. Be sure to make the scale of the secondary axis relevant to the data being plotted against it.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, your chart should now include a secondary axis. This allows for a more accurate and visually appealing representation of datasets with different scales or units.

Tips for Adding Secondary Axis Google Sheets

  • Always check that your data is accurate and correctly formatted before adding it to a chart.
  • Use contrasting colors for the series on the primary and secondary axes to make the chart easier to read.
  • Consider using different chart types for the primary and secondary data series for added clarity.
  • Don’t forget to add labels to your axes to help viewers understand what they’re looking at.
  • Play around with the customization options in the Chart editor to create a chart that’s both informative and visually appealing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I select the correct chart type for my data?

Experiment with different chart types to see which one best represents your data. Combo charts are generally the best option when using a secondary axis.

Can I add more than one secondary axis?

Google Sheets currently only supports one secondary axis per chart.

How can I edit the labels on my axes?

Click on the chart, navigate to the Chart editor, and find the ‘Customize’ tab. From there, you can edit the labels under ‘Horizontal axis’ and ‘Vertical axis’.

Is it possible to change the position of the secondary axis?

The secondary axis will always be on the opposite side of the primary axis. However, you can switch which data is assigned to each axis.

Can I use a secondary axis in a pie chart?

No, secondary axes are only available in combo charts and certain other chart types that support multiple data series plotted against different scales.


  1. Select your data along with the headers.
  2. Insert a chart via the ‘Insert’ menu.
  3. Choose a ‘Combo chart’ from the Chart editor.
  4. Customize the series by assigning data to the primary or secondary axis.
  5. Adjust the secondary axis scale to fit your data.


Mastering how to add a secondary axis in Google Sheets can elevate your data presentation to a whole other level. Whether you’re dealing with sales figures, scientific measurements, or school grades, a secondary axis enables you to compare vastly different data sets in an intuitive and visually coherent way. Remember, the key is in selecting the right data and chart type, and then customizing it to accurately reflect what you’re trying to convey.

While it may seem daunting at first, adding a secondary axis is really just a matter of a few clicks. The real art lies in fine-tuning your chart to ensure it’s clear, informative, and, let’s face it, pretty to look at. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations of data series, chart types, and axis scales until you find the perfect match. With a bit of practice, you’ll be churning out professional-looking charts in no time.

So, why not give it a try? The next time you’re faced with a data presentation challenge, flex your Google Sheets muscles and add that secondary axis. Your audience will thank you for it.

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