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Table of contents
About Excel
Steps To Build A Heatmap In Excel
Applications of Heatmaps
Key Takeaways
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Heatmaps in Excel

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The article discusses and explores heatmaps in excel. They help simplify making assertions from complicated datasets. The cells are coloured depending on certain conditions that can help us directly direct our attention onto the important cells without looking through large amounts of data manually. One can make a heatmap by manually colouring every cell with the required colours, but that's not practical for large datasets. It also won't change automatically when our data changes. Here, we use conditional formatting to build heatmaps easily. The article will cover a step-by-step process of building a heatmap.

About Excel

Excel is a tool (software) that is often popularly used to analyze data. Excel provides various functionalities to help analyze and present data in a certain way and is still the most popular one despite the market having various new alternatives.

Learning about Excel can help you do your job better, and it's a handy skill that is an expectation for most jobs nowadays (even if not explicitly stated).

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Steps To Build A Heatmap In Excel

Below is our dataset. We'll be using it to demonstrate how we can build a heatmap. In a real-world situation, you'll probably have really big datasets, and this dataset is just a dummy dataset to illustrate the process.


Select the cells with the relevant data where you want to apply a heatmap.


Select, Conditional Formatting->Color Scales option from the Home Tab. Here you can choose from a list of default formatting options.


You can also create your own rules by clicking on 'More Rules…', for example,

Here we have applied rules to select 10 maximum cells from the dataset selected. Similarly you can build more rules as required.

Applications of Heatmaps

1. You can find underperforming resources and take timely corrective measures to maintain and raise the productivity level. You can do this easily by noticing the colour differences in cells.

2. It can help you notice patterns in your data and make improved assertions from it. For example, the data on sales of a product may show dips in certain periods. With this information, you can adequately ensure the production and labour costs.

3. You can ensure that your data is consistent and doesn't have any values that would not be possible. Here it acts as a method to ensure the consistency of the dataset. For instance, in the above example, you shouldn't get negative values for production.


1. How can we add custom rules for our heatmaps?

Refer to the conditional formatting rules manager, and there you can create your rules for creating heatmaps in addition to the default ones.

2. What is the shortcut to access the conditional formatting rules manager?

Press Alt + O + D to access the conditional formatting rules manager.

3. Advantages of learning excel?

It's a good way to store and visualize data. Here you can perform calculations and easily print reports. It's often a useful skill in various jobs and often required.

4. How to remove formatting from a cell?

Select the cells where you want to remove the formatting and press Alt + H + E + F to remove formatting from the selected cells.

5. How can we select and delete a column or a row in a worksheet?

Press Ctrl + Spacebar (for selecting column) and Shift + Spacebar (for selecting row) key to select a column and Ctrl + '-' to delete the selected row/column.

Key Takeaways

This article extensively discusses the applications of heatmaps in excel, how one can use them on their dataset in excel, allowing them to easily make assertions from their data and do all this without having to manually fill colours in each cell and edit them when they change. Refer to introduction to excel to learn more about excel. It's best to start with an understanding of excel as a beginner. After the previous article, refer here to learn more about worksheets in excelarea charts.

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