Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Combo Chart In Excel


If you're looking to create visual representations of your data in Excel, a combo chart can be a powerful tool. A combo chart is a combination of two or more chart types, such as a line chart and a bar chart, displayed on the same chart area. This allows you to compare and analyze different sets of data in one visual. The benefits of using combo charts in Excel are numerous, including the ability to clearly present complex data and identify trends and patterns more easily. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the steps to create a combo chart in Excel.

Key Takeaways

  • Combo charts in Excel are a powerful tool for creating visual representations of data by combining two or more chart types.
  • Using combo charts allows for the clear presentation of complex data and the identification of trends and patterns more easily.
  • When creating a combo chart, it is important to understand the different types of data that can be represented and to organize and format the data accordingly.
  • Customizing the combo chart, including adjusting axis titles and labels, changing colors and styles, and adding trendlines or data labels, is essential for effective analysis.
  • Best practices for using combo charts include limiting the number of data series, using them for comparing different types of data, and avoiding using them for unrelated data.

Understanding the Data

Before creating a combo chart in Excel, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the data that will be represented in the chart. This involves identifying the different types of data that can be effectively showcased in a combo chart and organizing and formatting the data accordingly.

A. Identify the different types of data that can be represented in a combo chart
  • Numeric Data:

    This type of data includes numerical values such as sales figures, quantities, percentages, etc. Numeric data is typically represented on the chart's primary y-axis.
  • Categorical Data:

    Categorical data includes non-numeric values such as product names, months, or any other labels. This type of data is usually represented on the chart's secondary y-axis or on the x-axis.

B. Organize and format the data for the combo chart

Once you have identified the types of data that will be included in the combo chart, it’s essential to organize and format the data in a way that is conducive to creating a clear and visually impactful chart.

  • Data Organization:

    Ensure that the data is organized in a clear and logical manner. For example, arrange numeric and categorical data in separate columns or rows to make it easier to select and plot the data in the chart.
  • Data Formatting:

    Format the data to ensure consistency and readability. This may involve using appropriate number formats, applying clear labels to categorical data, and ensuring that the data is free from any anomalies or errors.

Creating the Combo Chart

Excel offers a variety of chart types to visualize your data effectively. One of the popular chart types is the combo chart, which allows you to combine two or more chart types in a single chart. Here's how you can create a combo chart in Excel:

A. Select the data to be included in the chart

  • Step 1: Open your Excel workbook and navigate to the worksheet containing the data you want to include in the combo chart.
  • Step 2: Select the range of cells that contain the data you want to include in the chart. Make sure to include all the data series that you want to visualize in the combo chart.

B. Insert a combo chart from the 'Insert' tab in Excel

  • Step 3: Once you have selected the data, go to the 'Insert' tab in Excel.
  • Step 4: Click on the 'Combo Chart' option in the 'Charts' group.

C. Choose the chart type for each data series (e.g., bar, line)

  • Step 5: After inserting the combo chart, Excel will display the 'Chart Tools' tab with 'Design', 'Layout', and 'Format' tabs.
  • Step 6: Click on the 'Design' or 'Layout' tab to access the 'Chart Type' options.
  • Step 7: In the 'Chart Type' options, you can select the chart type for each data series in your combo chart. For example, you can choose a bar chart for one data series and a line chart for another.

Customizing the Chart

After creating a combo chart in Excel, you may want to customize it to better display your data. Here are some ways to adjust and personalize your chart:

  • Adjust the axis titles and labels
  • Axis titles and labels provide important context for the data displayed on the chart. To customize these, you can simply click on the axis title or label and edit the text to better suit your needs. You can also format the text, change the font, size, and color to make it more visually appealing and easier to read.

  • Change the color and style of each data series
  • Each data series in your combo chart can be customized to differentiate them from one another. By clicking on a specific data series, you can change the color, style, and marker options to distinguish it from the others. This can help make your chart more visually appealing and easier to interpret.

  • Add a trendline or data labels if needed
  • If you want to highlight the overall trend in your data, you can add a trendline to your chart. This can be done by right-clicking on a data series and selecting "Add Trendline." Additionally, you can add data labels to your data points to provide specific information about each data point on the chart.

Analyzing the Chart

Once you have created a combo chart in Excel, it’s important to analyze the chart to gain insights into your data. Here are a few key steps to consider:

A. Compare and contrast the different data series
  • Data Series: Take a close look at each data series represented in the combo chart. Compare and contrast the data to identify any patterns or discrepancies.
  • Data Types: Consider the different types of data represented, such as numerical values, percentages, or categorical data. Analyze how these different data types interact with each other within the chart.

B. Identify any trends or correlations within the data
  • Trends: Look for any noticeable trends within the data series. Are there consistent patterns or fluctuations over time?
  • Correlations: Determine if there are any correlations between the different data series. For example, do certain data points consistently increase or decrease together?

Best Practices for Using Combo Charts

When creating combo charts in Excel, it's essential to follow best practices to ensure that your data is presented in a clear and visually appealing manner.

A. Limit the number of data series to avoid clutter

  • 1. When creating a combo chart, it's important to limit the number of data series to avoid cluttering the chart. Too many data series can make the chart difficult to read and understand.
  • 2. Focus on including only the most relevant data series that will help to convey the message you want to communicate.

B. Use a combo chart when comparing different types of data

  • 1. Combo charts are ideal for comparing different types of data, such as sales and profit margins, or temperature and humidity levels.
  • 2. By combining different chart types, you can effectively highlight the relationships and trends between different sets of data.

C. Avoid using a combo chart for unrelated data

  • 1. It's important to avoid using a combo chart for unrelated data, as this can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of the data.
  • 2. Make sure that the data series you include in the combo chart are logically related and contribute to a clear and cohesive message.


Creating a combo chart in Excel involves a few key steps, including selecting the data, inserting a chart, and customizing it to display both line and bar elements. By following these steps, you can effectively present and analyze different types of data in one chart for clearer insights.

  • Recap the key steps: Select the data, insert a chart, and customize it to display both line and bar elements.
  • Emphasize the importance: Understanding the data and customizing the chart is crucial for effective analysis and decision-making. It helps in presenting the data in a way that is easily understandable for the audience.

By mastering the art of creating combo charts in Excel, you can enhance your data analysis skills and present your findings in a more visually appealing and understandable manner.

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