Google Sheets Heatmap: Create Informative Visualizations Effortlessly

Published: December 16, 2023 - 2 min read

Hannah Recker

Understanding Heatmaps in Google Sheets

Concept and Purpose

Heatmaps in Google Sheets use color gradients to represent data values visually. They are essential for businesses to quickly highlight key data points in large datasets, such as customer engagement levels or sales performance across different regions.

In Google Sheets, heatmaps can be created using the conditional formatting feature, which alters the color of cells based on their values. This helps users to identify high and low values as well as outliers in their data that might require attention.

There are two common types of heatmaps in Google Sheets: single color and multi-color heatmaps.

Single-color heatmaps use a single color gradient that becomes darker or lighter based on data values, while multi-color heatmaps utilize a range of colors to emphasize variations within the dataset.

Diverging heatmaps, a subtype of multi-color heatmaps, generally have a midpoint or central value, with lower values represented by one color and higher values represented by another.

Creating a Heatmap in Google Sheets

To create a heatmap in Google Sheets, follow these steps:

Select the cells where you want to apply the heatmap. This can include the entire data range or specific clusters of cells.

Here, our dataset represents quarterly sales data across different regions.

Highlighting the sales data cells in Google Sheets for heatmap creation.

Navigate to Format > Conditional formatting in the menu bar. This will open the Conditional Formatting sidebar.

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Alt Text: Navigating to the Conditional Formatting option in Google Sheets.

Choose between Single color or Color scale depending on whether you want to create a single color heatmap or a multi-color heatmap. In this example, we chose Color scale.

Selecting between Single color and Color scale options in Google Sheets.

Google Sheets will automatically generate a default color gradient for your heatmap.

Note: You can also choose a custom color scale by clicking the Minpoint, Midpoint, and Maxpoint color selectors. These colors represent the lowest, middle, and highest values in your selected data range, respectively


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Hannah Recker Growth Marketer
Hannah Recker was a data-driven growth marketer before partying in the data became a thing. In her 12 years experience, she's become fascinated with the way data enablement amongst teams can truly make or break a business. This fascination drove her to taking a deep dive into the data industry over the past 4 years in her work at StreamSets and Coefficient.
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