Overlapping charts in Excel are a perfect way to visually compare two inherently connected things or to show how much one thing is part of the other. For instance, actual results in comparison to planned results. Creating overlapping charts is simple as soon as you know the tricks on how to tweak Excel for your needs.

How to create overlapping charts in Excel step by step

Start with a standard table:
standard table excel

Next, insert a standard bar chart (best the grouped bar chart)
creating overlapping charts in Excel

standard chart excel

The magic step now is to move one bar on top the other. To get this, click on the bars that shall go to the front, then right click and choose format data series. Next assign, a secondary axis to these bars.

secondary axis excel
If necessary, adjust maximum values of the secondary axis so that it matches the primary axis. Afterwards you can delete the secondary axis again.

We are almost done. To conclude, click on the bars that are supposed to go in the back and make them wider. You can make bars wider in Excel by simply clicking the respective bars, then choose format data series and then adjust the gap width until it looks good to you.

creating overlapping charts

Finish with polishing up your overlapping chart, by removing gridlines, adjusting colors, moving the legend and giving your chart a crispy title.