How to Combine Graphs In Excel

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How to Combine Graphs In Excel

Combining graphs in Excel is a powerful way to present data in a more comprehensive and visually appealing manner. It allows for the comparison of different data sets, better storytelling through data visualization, and enhanced clarity in presenting complex information.This article will look into the significance of combining graphs in Excel, provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to combine graphs in excel, and discuss the pros and cons of this technique.

Significance of Combining Graphs in Excel

Combining graphs in Excel is significant for several reasons:

  1. Enhanced Data Comparison:

By combining multiple data sets into a single chart, it becomes easier to compare and contrast different variables. This is particularly useful in financial analysis, scientific research, and business reporting where multiple data points need to be evaluated simultaneously.

  1. Improved Data Visualization:

A combined graph can convey more information at a glance than multiple separate graphs. This helps in making presentations more concise and impactful, allowing the audience to quickly grasp the relationships and trends between different data sets.

  1. Efficiency:

Instead of creating and maintaining multiple charts, combining graphs can streamline your workflow. It reduces the clutter in your workbook and makes it easier to update and manage your data visualizations.

  1. Storytelling:

Combining graphs helps in creating a coherent narrative. For example, in a sales report, combining a bar chart showing monthly sales with a line chart depicting the sales target can clearly illustrate performance trends and gaps.

  1. Professional Appearance:

A well-combined chart looks more professional and polished, which is crucial for business presentations, academic reports, and other professional documentation.

Step-by-Step Process to Combine Graphs in Excel

Combining graphs in Excel can be done in various ways depending on the type of data and the desired outcome. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to combine different types of charts, specifically focusing on combining a bar chart with a line chart.

Step 1: Prepare Your Data

Ensure your data is organized in a way that supports the types of charts you want to combine. Typically, this involves having your data in columns with headers.

For example:

Step 2: Insert Your Primary Chart

  1. Highlight the data range you want to include in your primary chart. In this case, highlight the “Month” and “Sales” columns.
  2. Go to the Insert tab.
  3. Select the type of chart you want to create. For a bar chart, click on Insert Column or Bar Chart and choose your preferred style.

Step 3: Add the Secondary Data Series

  1. Right-click on the chart and choose Select Data.
  2. In the Select Data Source dialog box, click Add to add a new data series.
  3. For the Series name, select the cell that contains the header for the second data series (e.g., “Target”).
  4. For the Series values, highlight the range of values for the secondary data series.

Step 4: Change the Chart Type of the Secondary Data Series

  1. Click on the new data series in your chart to select it.
  2. Right-click on the selected data series and choose Change Series Chart Type.
  3. In the Change Chart Type dialog box, choose a different chart type for the secondary data series, such as a line chart.
  4. Check the box next to Secondary Axis if you want to plot the secondary series on a separate axis. This is useful when the data series have different value ranges.

Step 5: Customize the Combined Chart

  1. Adjust Axes:

Ensure that the primary and secondary axes are properly labeled and scaled.

  1. Format Data Series:

Right-click on each data series to format them as needed. You can change colors, line styles, and markers to enhance readability.

  1. Add Chart Elements:

Use the Chart Tools to add elements like chart titles, data labels, legends, and gridlines to improve the overall clarity of the chart.

  1. Fine-Tune Layout:

Adjust the chart layout to ensure that all elements are clearly visible and that the chart is not cluttered.

Pros and Cons of Combining Graphs in Excel


  1. Comprehensive Visualization:

Combines multiple data points into a single view, making it easier to see relationships and trends.

  1. Space Efficiency:

Saves space in your reports and presentations by reducing the number of separate charts.

  1. Improved Clarity:

Helps in making complex data more understandable by visually linking related data series.

  1. Better Decision Making:

Facilitates quicker and more informed decision-making by presenting all relevant data in one place.


  1. Complexity:

Can make the chart more complex and harder to read, especially if not well-designed.

  1. Overloading:

Risk of overloading the chart with too much information, which can overwhelm the audience.

  1. Alignment Issues:

Difficulty in aligning scales and axes properly when combining different types of data.

  1. Limited Customization:

Combining charts can sometimes limit the customization options available compared to standalone charts.


  • Combining graphs in Excel is a powerful technique that enhances data visualization and comparison, providing a more comprehensive view of the information at hand.
  • By following the step-by-step guide provided on how to combine graphs in excel, users can effectively combine different types of charts to create a more informative and visually appealing presentation.
  • However, it is crucial to balance the benefits with the potential drawbacks, ensuring that the combined graph remains clear, informative, and not overly complex. When done correctly, combined graphs can significantly improve the quality and impact of your data presentations

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