How to Add a Secondary X-Axis in Excel (Step-by-Step Guide)

When working with data in Excel, you might need to create a chart that displays two different sets of values on separate X-axes. For instance, suppose you have a dataset showing the values of the 2nd and 3rd powers of numbers, and you want to plot a graph illustrating their patterns. Additionally, you want to display values on the primary horizontal axis and values on the secondary horizontal axis.

Here are the steps to achieve this:

How to Add Secondary X Axis in Excel


Step 1: Create a Scatter Chart in Excel

  • Prepare Your Data:
    • Organize your data in two columns: one for X² values and another for X³ values.
    • Make sure the data is ready for plotting.

Make a Scatter Chart

  • Insert a Scatter Chart:
    • Select the data range.
    • Go to the Insert tab.
    • Choose the Scatter chart type.
  • Customize the Scatter Chart:
    • Your scatter chart will now display both series of data.

Step 2: Enable the Secondary Horizontal Axis

  • Select the Chart:
    • Click on the scatter chart to activate it.
  • Access Chart Elements:
    • Look for the plus (+) icon that appears on the top-right corner of the chart.
    • Click it to reveal the chart elements.
  • Enable the Secondary Horizontal Axis:
    • Within the chart elements, locate the Axes box (usually marked by default).
    • Click the arrow next to Axes to expand the options.
    • Check the box for Secondary Horizontal Axis to enable it. This will display the secondary X-axis on your chart.

Enable Secondary Horizontal Axis

Read More: How to Add Secondary Axis in Excel


Step 3: Add Axes Titles to the Secondary X Axis

  • Access Chart Elements Again:
    • Click on the scatter chart to activate it.
    • Look for the arrow next to Axis Titles.
  • Add Titles to the Secondary X-Axis:
    • Click on the Secondary Horizontal option to add axis titles.

Give Axes Titles

    • Rename the axis titles as needed.

How to Add Secondary X Axis in Excel

Read More: How to Combine Graphs with Different X Axis in Excel


Troubleshooting: Excel Not Showing Secondary Horizontal Axis Option

If you don’t see the option to add a secondary horizontal axis, follow these additional steps:

The screenshot below serves as an example of a situation where secondary horizontal axes option is unavailable.

When Don’t You Find the Option?

  • Enable Secondary Axes Manually:
    • Right-click on one of the data series in your chart.
    • Select Format Plot Area.

When Don’t You Find Secondary Horizontal Axis Option?

  • In the Format Data Series window, choose the Secondary Axes option under Series Options.
  • This will enable the secondary vertical axis.

When Don’t You Find Secondary Horizontal Axis Option?

  • Access Axes Options Again:
    • Go back to the chart elements.
    • You should now find the secondary axes options available.

When Don’t You Find Secondary Horizontal Axis Option?

Read More: How to Hide Secondary Axis in Excel Without Losing Data


Download Practice Workbook

You can download the practice workbook from here:


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Osman Goni Ridwan
Osman Goni Ridwan

OSMAN GONI RIDWAN is a marine engineer who loves exploring Excel and VBA programming. Programming, to him, is a time-saving tool for efficiently managing data, files, and internet tasks. He is proficient in Rhino3D, Maxsurf, C++, MS Office, AutoCAD, Excel, and VBA and goes beyond the basics. Armed with a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, OSMAN has transitioned into the role of a content developer. Specializing in creating technical content exclusively centered around Excel... Read Full Bio

2 Comments
  1. Thanks for this tutorial. How can I enable a secondary horizontal axis on an Excel chart embedded in a PowerPoint slide? The option to click on that “plus sign” on the top right corner of the chart does not seem to exist.

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