Microsoft Excel's charting tools create evocative data visualizations from rows or columns of numbers. Charts in Excel work from columns or rows of numbers called "data series." Converting the data into charts and graphs improves the visual appeal and makes for an intuitive way to spot trends and make decisions based on them. One way to contrast different data covering the same period of time or other unified metric is to make a combined chart where two sets of data use the same set of axes. An example of a combined chart is overlaying sale price over sales volume for a given time period.

Step 1

Gather your data, making sure you organize it by the appropriate axes. Sales data broken down by month would be an example of a data series. Each data series needs to be in its own column or row and the number of cells used for each data series needs to be identical.

Step 2

Select all the cells with data you want to include. Be sure to include the cells with the labels in the selection area.

Step 3

Click on the "Charts" tab in the ribbon and select a chart type from the "Insert Chart" group. The most commonly used combination chart type mixes a column chart with a line chart. You'll create a chart of the selected type with both data series shown.

Step 4

Click on the chart representation of one of the data series -- for example, if you selected a column chart, select on the columns showing the data you wanted in a line chart to select that data series within the chart. Next, click on the Chart tab again and click the button for the other type of chart you want to combine here. You can repeat this step for multiple data series, not just two.