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

Creating a secondary axis in Google Sheets can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. By following a few simple steps, you can easily add a second axis to your chart, allowing you to compare different data sets with different scales. So, let’s dive in and learn how to set a secondary axis in Google Sheets!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Set a Secondary Axis in Google Sheets

In this tutorial, we’ll walk through the steps to add a secondary axis to a chart in Google Sheets. This is useful when you want to compare two data sets that have different scales.

Step 1: Create a Chart

First, you need to create a chart in Google Sheets using the data you want to compare.
After selecting your data, go to the “Insert” menu and choose “Chart.” Google Sheets will automatically create a chart for you.

Step 2: Customize Chart

Next, click on the chart to open the “Chart editor” on the right-hand side of the screen.
In the Chart editor, you’ll see options to change the chart type, customize the series, and more. Make sure you’re in the “Customize” tab for the next steps.

Step 3: Add Secondary Axis

Scroll down in the “Customize” tab until you find the “Series” section. Here, you’ll see a list of all the data series in your chart.
Select the series you want to move to the secondary axis. Once selected, check the box that says “Plot series on secondary axis.” The chart will automatically update and add a secondary axis for the selected series.

Step 4: Adjust Axis Title and Scale

Now that you have a secondary axis, you can adjust the title and scale to make sure it’s clear what the axis represents.
Scroll to the “Vertical axis” section in the Chart editor, and you’ll see options to customize both the primary and secondary axes. You can change the axis title, format, and scale to better represent your data.

After you complete these steps, you’ll have a chart with a secondary axis that allows you to compare two different data sets with their own scales. This can help you make better data-driven decisions and create more impactful presentations.

Tips for Setting a Secondary Axis in Google Sheets

  • Ensure your data is clean and organized before creating a chart.
  • Use contrasting colors for the primary and secondary axis series to make them easily distinguishable.
  • Always label your axes clearly to avoid confusion.
  • Check the scale of your secondary axis to make sure it’s appropriate for the data you’re representing.
  • Experiment with different chart types to find the one that best illustrates your data comparison.

Frequently Asked Questions About Setting a Secondary Axis in Google Sheets

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

Consider what you’re trying to compare or highlight in your data, and choose a chart type that best represents that information.

Can I add more than one secondary axis to a chart?

No, Google Sheets currently only supports adding one secondary axis to a chart.

Will adding a secondary axis affect the readability of my chart?

It can if not done carefully. Make sure the scales are appropriate and the series are clearly distinguishable to maintain readability.

Can I customize the secondary axis independently of the primary axis?

Yes, you can customize the secondary axis title, format, and scale independently from the primary axis.

What types of data benefit most from a secondary axis?

Data sets with different scales or units of measurement can benefit from a secondary axis, as it allows for clearer comparisons without skewing the data representation.

Summary of Steps to Set a Secondary Axis in Google Sheets

  1. Create a Chart
  2. Customize Chart
  3. Add Secondary Axis
  4. Adjust Axis Title and Scale


Setting a secondary axis in Google Sheets is a powerful way to visually compare different data sets. Whether you’re a data analyst, a marketer, or a student, mastering this skill can elevate your data presentation game. Remember to keep your chart clean and readable, and always label your axes clearly. With these steps and tips, you’re now equipped to create impactful charts that tell a compelling story with your data. Happy charting!

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