How To Create Heatmaps in Excel [4 steps]
Analysts use heatmaps to analyze the magnitude of an event by visual cues. A data visualization technique, heatmaps are utilized to derive quick interpretations of the intensity of the event and do course-corrections accordingly.
One of the examples of a heatmap can be the visual representation of COVID-19 cases being registered globally. The following map shows the geographic distribution of the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases reported per 100,000 people worldwide. Darker shades of orange denote most affected countries, and the light yellow hues indicate the opposite.
There are quite a few efficient ways to generate a heatmap, such as using readily available free heatmap generators or integrated analytical tools. Microsoft Excel is another great option to explore.
Creating a Heatmap in Excel
When using Excel, you can either create a heatmap by manually coloring each cell depending on its value or enter a smart formula/function to do all the taxing work for you. We’d suggest you use the latter method to create a heatmap.
Let’s consider the dataset extracted from the above represented COVID-19 globally registered cases as an example to learn how to create a heatmap using an Excel function – apply Conditional Formatting.
Step 1: Enter Data
Enter the necessary data in an Excel sheet. We entered the data above.
Step 2: Select the Data
Select the dataset for which you want to generate a heatmap. In this case, it would be B2 through D19.
Step 3: Use Conditional Formatting
Go to Home, click on Conditional Formatting and select Color Scales. The color scale offers quite a few options for you to choose from to highlight the data.
In our case, we’ve used the first option where cells with high values are colored in green and ones with low value in red.
Note: Use a color scheme that best matches your data interpretation needs.
Step 4: Select the Color Scale
Once you select a color scale, you’ll see a heatmap as shown below:
In this color scale, Excel assigns a green color to the cells with the highest values and red to ones with the lowest values. Meanwhile, the remaining values are assigned colors based on the descending value order showing a gradient of different shades falling between green and red.
While this was just one of the ways to generate a heatmap using Excel, you can get as creative as you want to. Excel also gives you the leverage to drill down and create mapping views of specific data sets as well. However, if you’re planning to create heatmaps to study the performance of your website or particular pages, we’d recommend you to use better, integrated tools than Excel. Use VWO Heatmaps. They not only help you see how visitors engage with your website but also highlight web elements that catch their attention or distract them. To know more VWO Heatmaps, sign up for a free demo session or opt-in for a free trial.