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How to change bubble chart color based on categories in Excel?

If you want to change different bubble colors based on different categories in a bubble chart in Excel as below screenshot shown, this tutorial can help you.
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Change bubble chart color based on categories

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arrow blue right bubble Change bubble chart color based on categories


1. You need to copy your x axis values and paste them in a blank column next to your original data range firstly.

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2. Then type the category names into the cells right above the data range, and keep a blank cell between every two categories. See screenshot:

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3. Then in the cells under each category, type y, and type Bubble in to the cells under each blank cell. See screen shot below:

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4. Type this formula =IF($A3=F$1,$C3,NA()) into the cell under Y cell, and drag the fill handle to the range you need.

Note: $A3 indicates the category name in your original data range, and F$1 indicates the category you need in this column, $C3 indicates y value in your original data range.

doc-bubble-color-5

5. Then type this formula =IF(ISNA(F3),NA(),$D3) into the cell under Bubble cell and drag fill handle to the range you need.

Note: F3 indicates the cell left to the active cell, and $D3 indicates the bubble value in your original data range.

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6. Select the new data range you create in above steps and click Insert > Other Charts > Bubble, and select the bubble type you need.

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In Excel 2013, click Insert > Insert Scatter (X Y) or Bubble chart > Bubble.

Now you can see the same category with the same bubble color.

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If you want to change chart color based on value, you can go to this tutorial How to change chart color based on value in Excel.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Jon · 2 years ago
    Nice except that the graph comes out with other values on the x axis than what is in the data table you make the graph on...
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Anurag Halder · 10 months ago
      If you clear the cell that reads 'x' you should be able to get the values
      • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
        D · 4 months ago
        wow what wizardry is this? it works but no idea why
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    racefface · 2 years ago
    Thanks for this guide - it's solved a big issue for me.

    Well, almost. I've got this set up, but also have Data Labels on the bubbles. However, I am having an issue with the Data Label dissapearing from the bubble when the Category (bubble colour) is changed. I've tried a few things, the thing that has come closest to solving the issue is:

    Changing all my data to the same category, configuring the Data Labels to the right format (the label content is coming from a range of cells), then changing all the data to the next category, and setting up the formats... repeating for all caegories. Once that is done then I can happily change the categories and the bubble colours change and the bubbles remain labeled...

    However.. If I save the document, close it and reopen then changing the category results in the bubble changing colour, but the data label on the bubble disspears. Looking at the settings nothing has changed but the label content does not show. Changing the cateogry back to the original value results in the label coming back..

    Has anyone seen this before? ... and if so, any ideas on a solution?

    ~/R
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Casey Fong · 3 years ago
    continue from previous msg....
    X axis = period, Y axis = value, bubble = value with customer name
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Casey Fong · 3 years ago
    Hi there,
    I would like to know is it possible to have the bubble's colour based on risk level with the following information availbale below and the colour of the bubble will depend on risk level (example, Medium = Orange, Low = Green, High = Red, Converted = Blue). I tried follow the example you showed above but couldn't get it working...

    customer Period Value Risk level
    A Jan-17 $15,000 Medium
    B Dec-16 $20,000 Low
    C Mar-17 $25,000 Converted
    D Feb-17 $10,000 High
    E Jan-17 $30,000 Medium
    F Apr-17 $8,000 Low

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Casey
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    Mel · 3 years ago
    I see that these steps work, but there is no explanation of why.
    for example you use the formula "=IF(ISNA(H10),NA(),$D10)", what does this mean and why are you using it.
    Is there a document available that not only shows a user how to change the colours but explains the process.
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    Gareth · 3 years ago
    you are probably doing what I did initially which is selecting the header rows when selecting the data, if you only select the values and no headers it will work fine
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    David · 3 years ago
    Thanks for this walkthrough. A problem that I have, and I see you have it too based on the screen shots, is that the x axis no longer reflects the values from your data. The position of the bubbles along the x axis may be accurately scaled but the actual values are missing. How do you fix that?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Becky · 2 years ago
      The x-axis displays the number of items in the list and the position of each one. The only workaround that I could figure out was to selected Edit Data and then select each category and specify the cell reference rather than leaving it as a range.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Becky · 2 years ago
      [quote name="David"]Thanks for this walkthrough. A problem that I have, and I see you have it too based on the screen shots, is that the x axis no longer reflects the values from your data. The position of the bubbles along the x axis may be accurately scaled but the actual values are missing. How do you fix that?[/quote]
      The values along the x-axis reflect the position within the selection, not the actual values for the x-axis. eg., the first bubble is position 2 (second row), second bubble is position 3 and so forth. The values generated along the x-axis will reflect the number of items in the list. The only workaround that I could discover was to Edit Data and then select each category and manually adjust the cell references for x-axis, y-axis, and bubble size to reflect the actual cell, not a range.
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        Sidhant · 2 years ago
        Hi Becky,


        Thanks for sharing this with us. Can you please explain this with an example? It would be really helpful. Thank you.