Charts provide a way to visualise information and quickly make comparisons between data. On a chart such as a line or bar graph, the vertical axis communicates one level of information, and the horizontal axis communicates a second layer of information. If you want to display a third or even a fourth level of information on the same chart, you can add secondary axes in the vertical and horizontal planes. For example, you might want to show a comparison of sales to the cost of goods, so the sales axis would be primary and displayed on the left, and the cost of goods axis would be secondary and displayed on the right.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Click on the chart you want to edit in PowerPoint. Click on the "Chart Tools: Layout" tab on the right side of the Microsoft Office ribbon. Click on the data in the chart for which you want a second axis. For example, if you're using a bar chart, click on one of the bars that you want to correspond to the second axis.
Click the "Format Selection" button in the "Current Selection" section on the left side of the ribbon.
Click "Series Options" in the list on the left side of the "Format Selection" dialogue box. Click "Secondary Axis" under "Plot Series On." Click "Close." That series of data is now plotted on a secondary axis in the chart. For vertical axes, the secondary axis is on the right; for horizontal, the secondary is on the top.
Tips and warnings
- Change the type of graph used for the secondary series of data to further differentiate between your information. Click to select the series and then right-click and choose "Change Series Chart Type." Select a different type--for example, a line graph to contrast with a bar graph.
- Secondary axes are available only on the two-dimensional graphs in Microsoft Office. If you are using a 3D graph, the secondary axis option won't be available.
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