What is a Double Y-Axis Graph & How to Create One?

A double Y-axis graph, also known as a dual-axis or twin-axis chart, is a valuable visualization technique for comparing two sets of data with different units or scales on a single graph. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what double Y-axis graphs are, when to use them, and how to create and interpret them effectively.

What is a Double Y-axis graph?

A double Y-axis graph is a type of chart that displays two separate sets of data using two Y-axes that share a common X-axis. Each Y-axis represents a different scale or unit of measurement, allowing you to visualize and compare two datasets with distinct numerical values.

When to Use Double Y-Axis Graphs?

Double Y-axis graphs are valuable in the following scenarios:

  1. Comparing Diverse Data: When you want to compare two datasets that have different units or scales, such as sales revenue (in dollars) and customer satisfaction scores (on a scale of 1 to 10).
  2. Highlighting Relationships: When you suspect a relationship or correlation between two variables and want to visualize how changes in one variable impact the other.
  3. Efficient Communication: When you need to convey complex data relationships clearly and concisely to stakeholders, such as in reports or presentations.

Creating a Double Y-Axis Graph

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a double Y-axis graph:

1. Prepare Your Data:

  • Organize your data in a spreadsheet, with one column for the X-axis values and two separate columns for each set of Y-axis values.

2. Select Your Data:

  • Highlight the data you want to include in the double Y-axis graph, including the X-axis values and both sets of Y-axis values.

3. Insert a Chart:

  • Click on “Insert” in your preferred spreadsheet software (e.g., Excel, Google Sheets).
  • Select “Chart” from the menu.

if you are using Google Sheets, it will automatically create the double y-axis chart and open the chart editor on the right side of the screen.

4. Choose Chart Types:

  • In the chart creation dialog, specify the chart types for each set of Y-axis values. Typically, one set of data is represented by bars or lines, while the other is represented by lines.
  • Assign one Y-axis to the left side and the other to the right side.

5. Customize Your Chart:

  • Use chart customization options to adjust the appearance and labels of your double Y-axis graph. You can modify colors, add titles, and format axis labels.

6. Preview and Adjust:

  • Review the double Y-axis graph to ensure that it effectively visualizes your data. Pay attention to how the two datasets interact and whether the scales are appropriate.

7. Save Your Chart:

  • Once you’re satisfied with the double Y-axis graph, save it in your spreadsheet or presentation document.
double y-axis line graph - how to create a double y axis graph

Interpreting Double Y-Axis Graphs

When interpreting double Y-axis graphs, consider the following key points:

  • Axis Scales: Observe the scales on both Y-axes to understand the magnitude of each dataset. Ensure that the scales are appropriately chosen for clarity.
  • Relationships: Analyze how changes in one dataset correspond to changes in the other. Consider if there is a causal relationship, correlation, or other patterns.
  • Annotations: Utilize chart annotations, labels, or legends to clarify which dataset corresponds to each Y-axis.

Real-Life Examples of Using Double Y-axis Graph

1. Sales and Marketing Spend

Imagine you’re a marketing manager analyzing your company’s performance. You want to understand the relationship between your monthly marketing spending (in dollars) and the number of new customers acquired each month. Here’s how a double Y-axis graph can help:

  • Left Y-axis (Primary Axis): Represents the marketing spend, showing peaks and valleys in your spending over time.
  • Right Y-axis (Secondary Axis): Represents the number of new customers, helping you see if marketing spending correlates with customer acquisition.

This dual-axis graph allows you to visualize whether increased spending directly leads to more customers and if there’s a lag effect in customer acquisition.

Graph going up

2. Temperature and Energy Consumption

Suppose you manage a building’s energy consumption. You want to analyze how outside temperature fluctuations impact your energy usage. Here’s how a double Y-axis graph can shed light on this relationship:

  • Left Y-axis (Primary Axis): Represents the daily average temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius).
  • Right Y-axis (Secondary Axis): Represents daily energy consumption (in kilowatt-hours or other energy units).

This dual-axis graph enables you to correlate temperature spikes or drops with corresponding energy spikes, helping you identify patterns for energy-efficient temperature management.

3. Stock Prices and Trading Volume

As an investor, you’re interested in the performance of a specific stock. You want to analyze how stock prices and trading volume are related. A double Y-axis graph can assist:

  • Left Y-axis (Primary Axis): Represents the stock price (in dollars), showing the stock’s daily price fluctuations.
  • Right Y-axis (Secondary Axis): Represents trading volume (in shares), illustrating daily trading activity.

This dual-axis graph allows you to visualize whether increased trading volume accompanies significant price movements, helping you make informed trading decisions.


Double Y-axis graphs are valuable tools for visualizing and comparing datasets with differing units or scales. Whether you’re analyzing financial data, scientific measurements, or performance metrics, these graphs provide a concise and informative way to convey insights and make data-driven decisions.

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