How to Do a Two-Sided Graph in Excel

By Steve Lander

Excel lets you plot two data sets on two axes.
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Microsoft Excel's graphing capabilities includes a variety of ways to display your data. One is the ability to create a chart with different Y-axes on each side of the chart. This lets you compare two data sets that have different scales. For example, if you were to graph your company's sales relative to the size of your sales force, you might only have a few salespeople, but have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of sales. A two-axis graph lets you see the changes in the two data sets with lines of roughly equal size.

Open Microsoft Excel and enter your two data sets in separate columns. For instance, you could put labels in column A, the first data set in column B, and the third data set in Column C.

Highlight every cell that you want included in the graph, including header cells, by holding down the left mouse button and dragging your pointer over each cell.

Click "Insert" on the main file ribbon.

Click the "Line" button, then click the icon corresponding to a 2-D line graph. If you hover your mouse pointer over the choices, it will display a description of each of them.

Right-click on the line in the graph that you want to plot on a secondary axis. It may be a flat line near the bottom of the graph. If you cannot find the line, click on the name of your selected data series in the graph's legend, then right-click on it once it is selected.

Click on "Format Data Series" in the pop-up menu that appears.

Click the selection box to the left of the label "Secondary Axis" in the "Series Options" part of the "Format Data Series" window.

Click the "Close" button.