Bar and line graph in Excel

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One helpful tip in improving dashboard presentation is by creating combination charts.  Excel allows us to combine different chart types in one chart. This article assists all levels of Excel users on how to create a bar and line chart.  

Figure 1.  Final result:  Bar and Line Graph

Bar Chart with Line

There are two main steps in creating a bar and line graph in Excel.  First, we insert two bar graphs. Next, we change the chart type of one graph into a line graph.  

Insert bar graphs

  • Select the cells we want to graph

Figure 2.  Selecting the cells to graph

  • Click Insert tab > Column button > Clustered Column

Figure 3.  Clustered Column in Insert Tab

Two column charts or vertical bar charts will be created, one each for Quantity and %Reduction.

Figure 4. Vertical Bar Graph

Change bar graph to line graph

We want to present %Reduction as a line graph.  

  • We right-click on the series “% Reduction” and select Change Series Chart Type

Figure 5.  Change Series Chart Type in Menu Options

  • The Change Chart Type dialog box will appear.  Select Line >  Line with Markers

Figure 6.  Line with Markers Chart Type

The %Reduction bar graph is now presented as a line graph.  However, since the values are less than one, the line graph values are too close to the horizontal axis to be visually significant.  

Figure 7.  Bar Chart with Line

Display line graph scale on secondary axis

The work-around is to plot the line graph on a secondary axis.  

  • Right-click the line graph and select Format Data Series.  

Figure 8.  Format Data Series Option

  • The Format Data Series dialog box will pop-up.  Tick Secondary Axis in Series Options.  

Figure 9.  Secondary Axis in Series Options

We now have a combination bar and line graph.  

Figure 10.  Bar and Line Graph with Secondary Axis

Next let us clean up our bar and line graph by doing the following:

  • In Format Data Series, choose Marker Options > Marker Type > None
  • Marker Color > Solid Line > Orange
  • Delete the gridlines
  • Add a chart title in Layout tab > Chart Title > Above Chart,  then type “Rejects”

Figure 11.  Output: Bar Chart with Line