Monday, March 29, 2010

How do I add a second Y-axis to a Microsoft Excel plot?

I keep forgetting how to add a second y-axis to a plot made in Microsoft Excel. And I figured this might be helpful to other people as well.

Remember the plots from my little dollar cost averaging example? They all employed two y axes; a primary and a secondary. For illustration, here is what the plot would look like without the second y axis.

The price data appears to be zero because it is so small on the range of the value of the fund which reaches nearly $30,000. Utilizing a secondary axis is helpful whenever you want to compare trend lines of data that share the same abscissa, or x values, but do not share the same range of ordinate, or the vertical y axis values.

How do you get the secondary axis to appear?
First, add the data to your existing plot. I always forget and try to add a secondary axis first - it doesn't work!
Once you have your data and it looks poorly represented, then you can select it, and right click on it.

From the right click menu, select "Format Data Series" and you will the following screen. Here you can choose to plot the data on the primary or secondary y axis. Woohoo!

Need further help in Excel?
One book that I would like to recommend is actually a textbook...
New Perspectives on Microsoft Office Excel 2007, Comprehensive

So, where else can you find good excel advice? I am not really sure. If you know of a good site - please share below in the comments.

Vertex42 is a great site for Excel templates. I have found some useful tools there.

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