Creating Excel charts with Subcategory axis – [Quick Tip]

This is definitely a neat trick. Usually we have single X-axis chart element. But you can have multi-category axis to show the information in a much more arranged manner. Following is what we are after. You can observe that it has three categories, one main and two subcategories stacked up on each other in a bar chart:

multi category chart

Believe it or not, the process to have axis divided in several categories is really not that daunting. What you all need to do is to arrange the data in appropriate categories. The following data arrangement shows how it needs to be before it can be used for subcategory charts:

multi category chart data

Pointer to note is that you don’t have to fill the cells down representing each category or subcategory.Once you have the data arranged. Simply select the whole data set. And insert the chart as normal. And DONE! 🙂

Following animation walks you through the process of insert multi category chart in excel worksheet

subcategory chart

So all in all the data arrangement itself will take time to arrange. Once in place everything is all set to plot!

Don’t forget to checkout more of our tutorials on Excel Charts


  1. What about diferent colors for each group? Is it possible?

  2. This works perfectly, and so easily as well! Thanks a lot!!

  3. RE: it’s not working…
    Did you try literally typing in Subcategory I and Subcategory II? I did that and it worked; running Office 2016.

  4. Except for the part where it does absolutely none of that, this works great. My excel (2016) will not create subcategories no matter how hard I try.

  5. Double Click on the bar and the format window will appear on the right. Change the color there.

  6. Hello,

    Do you know how to change the color of the bars in the chart based on a specific sub category?



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