secondary axis option not available on mac

Copper Contributor

Hi everyone,


I need some help. I have recently changed to a Mac and I have the Excel version 16.16.5 for Mac. I am looking to create a progress pie chart that basically is using a doughnut shape pie chart with data on 2 axis. I don't seem to be able to find anywhere the secondary axis. I checked all advice I could find on Google but without any success. The secondary axis is not available in Format Data Series > Series Options or Add Chart Element > Axis Titles (which does not exist).

Can anyone help?


19 Replies

I have a similar problem, but with an ordinary line chart.


I have used secondary axes before in Excel, and I think it was in Office 2011 for Mac, but I can't be sure.


The "Help" page tells how you can add a secondary axis in Word for Mac, but not Excel!

That seems ridiculous.




I am running Microsoft Excel for Mac, Version 16.21.1 (190123), in Office 365.

Using a new iMac Pro running MacOS 10.14.3 (the latest version)



The Help is confusing--only the first step is for Word only. The rest of the steps apply to both Excel and Word. Unfortunately, if you follow the directions they still don't work. On Mac, the option to add a secondary axis is apparently absent.

@hbarr @Patricia_Bloj I figured out how to do this on Mac. The help is just wrong (it should be right, but the menu apparently has a bug). 


1. Select the series you want to add a secondary axis for

2. Right-click (two-finger tap) on the series

3. Select "Format Data Series..."

4. In helper window on the right, you can choose to plot the series on primary or secondary axis.

I think in the original question posted the user describes going through the exact same steps you're talking about, but it's not showing up on the Mac version. I'm having the same issue. When the format data series box pops up it does not show primary and secondary axes options. @McXcel 

@ntroy22273 OP was using the app menu, I think, which doesn't work. You have to select the series in the graph and use the context menu, as I described, then go to the helper window.

@McXcel This worked great, thanks! They need to change the Microsoft help page to this.

I’m on word and I found that clicking on the inside of the chart area (I.e. where the bars/lines are, not the outside with the numbers!) and clicking the white square in the middle of the secondary vertical axis, and dragging it to the left (so that there is actually space on the right side of the graph) helped. It allows space for there to actually be an axis title on the right side of the secondary axis. Before I done this there was no option for secondary axis title from add chart element > axis titles. After shuffling it around the secondary axis title option was made available from add chart element > axis titles > secondary vertical.

I hope this helps!

I need a second horizontal axis. Y axis remains the same but the timeline (dates) on the horizontal axis is different MS Office 2019.


Help please.

What I did was select the data and on format data series you can click "plot series on secondary axis" then you can go to chart elements and click on axes to let you change if you want it to be vertical or horizontal. Hope this helps. @Pongajim 

 From another website, I just tried this and it worked. It is not intuitive because you first have to plot the data on a secondary vertical axis (which is not what you want), when you have selected the dataset you want on the secondary x axis (horizontal axis). However, when you tell excel to plot the data on the secondary vertical axis, and then look under "Add chart elements" when in "Chart Design" mode, then you can select "Axes" and both primary and secondary vertical and horizontal axes are an option, and so click on the secondary x axis.

Add the secondary horizontal axis

To add a secondary horizontal axis, do the following:

   1.   Add the secondary vertical axis to any of the data series (see How to create two vertical axes on the same side).

   2.   Select the data series which you want to see using the secondary horizontal axis.

   3.   On the Chart Design tab, in the Chart Layouts group, click the Add Chart Element drop-down list

Choose the Axes list and then click Secondary Horizontal



Just chiming in to say that the Help text still has not been fixed, as of Excel 16.54 for Mac. Clicking on the data series, as mentioned above, does work, thanks for that. But hey Microsoft - it's surely not that hard to fix the manual?

Secondary axis is not available in Mac Excel 365 16.57 in Chart Design>Add Chart Element. And there is no option to add an axis in format. This is driving me nuts, because I have been able to add a secondary axis before but can't seem to find how to do it now.


What I found to work is selecting all the data from the chart, then going to insert a chart and choosing a "combo chart". When you do this, do not pick the first option. I believe I had to pick the second option for it to allow me to have a secondary axis. Once I did this, it gave me the option under chart elements to add/delete the secondary axis. It gives you an option to do a secondary horizontal as well as a vertical. If this doesn't help, I believe looking into the data series menu and adding another legend. That whole menu is quite confusing to me, but when I looked to see what the difference was it seemed that there was a second legend option and it added another y-axis series. I hope this helps y'all!!!!! I am using mac version 16.55.

This works! Thank you so much!
this was helpful but then how do I make that second data series a line rather than a bar?

@steelmmrThat was absolutely the solution that I needed, thank you.  It seems weird that this option is not available on the standard bar graph.

I made some edits and somehow ended up with 2 lines, but couldn't find  where/how.  What I'd really like is 2 bars vs 1 set of bars and one line.


Thanks again!

That's a great question!

@drerle I had the same issue, but found that when you save the Excel file, the menu changes and you can add the secondary axis title(s).

thank you so much, this is the solution!