Modified 07 March 2017 by Ian Weatherhogg

How to turn your data set into a heat map with this simple tip

The recent update to conditional formatting in Google Sheets allows you to turn any data set into a coloured heat map with just a couple of simple steps. This is great for identifying trends and patterns and cuts out the process of having to create a separate chart or graph.

A data heat map highlights each cell with a different colour depending on the figure. So you can set the colour to a light shade for low figures and a darker colour for high figures. A great example is using the heat map to identify trends in your sales report, allowing you to see what months have been the most successful.

To create your own heat map, follow the simple steps below:

  • Select your data in the Google Spreadsheet.
  • Go to Format - Conditional Formatting (or Right click). This will open a Conditional format rules panel.
  • Select the colours for your Minpoint, Midpoint and Maxpoint
  • Adjust your Midpoint to a Percentile

To easily identify your data even further, you can select your data and click add new rule. If you want to see your top figures (e.g. above £1000) select greater than in Format cells if… add your Value into the box and you can choose to have these figures in bold for example.