Starting with Excel 2007, a feature was added called “Color Scales”. Color scales can be used in many ways but by far my favorite is to use this functionality to create heatmaps. Heatmaps are 2 dimensional representations of 3 dimensional data. You can think of them as bar charts where you are looking down on them (birds eye view) and you can tell the height of the bar by the color shade of the bar. In this article I will take you through the easiest method of creating heatmaps in Excel: Color Scales.
1. Select your data set (hilight) and select conditional formatting under the home tab on the ribbon (2007)
2. Select Color Scales=>More Rules
3. From here is is preference. I like to select “3 color scale”. I keep type and value at the default. I do like to change the colors to more of industry (and logical) colors. If the high number is bad, I use: low value color = White, Midpoint color = yellow, low value color = Red.
4. Select OK
If you followed the steps above, you shoudl now have a heatmap similar to the one below.
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