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How to create a heat map with conditional formatting in Excel?

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2019-11-25

Using a heat map can help you to understand data distribution and variation in a range of cells. This tutorial is going to show how to create a heat map in Excel with conditional formatting under three circumstances.

Create a heat map for a range of cells in Excel
Create a heat map in Excel Pivot Table
Create a dynamic heat map in Excel
More tutorial for charts…

Create a heat map for a range of cells in Excel

Please do as follows to create a heat map for a range of cells in Excel.

1. Select the range with the data you will set heat map for, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Color Scales > Green yellow – red color scale. See screenshot:

Then a heat map with the selected data is created as below screenshot shown.

You can see the selected data are highlighted with various colors. The green color represents larger values, the center color represents middle values, and the red color represents smaller values.


  • 1. The highlight color will readjust automatically when values change.
  • 2. If you want to reconfigure the highlight color or other settings, please select the range again, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Manage Rules to get into the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog. Double click the existing rule or select the rule and click the Edit Rule button to open the rule.
  • In the Edit Formatting Rule dialog box, modify the rule based on your needs.

Create a heat map in Excel Pivot Table

Supposing you have created a Pivot Table as below screenshot shown. Now you want to create a heat map for the number data in this Pivot Table, the method is the same as above.

1. Select the number data in the Pivot Table, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Color Scales > Green yellow – red color scale.

Now the heat map is created in the Pivot Table.

Create a dynamic heat map in Excel

In many cases, you don’t want to always display the heat map in your worksheet. You can insert a checkbox to control the heat map. When the checkbox is checked, display the heat map, and when the checkbox is unchecked, hide the heat map. Please do as follows.

1. Select the whole data range, press the Ctrl + T keys at the same time.

2. In the Create Table dialog box, click the OK button.

3. Click Developer > Insert > Checkbox (Form Control), and then draw a checkbox in worksheet.

4. Right click the checkbox and select Format Control. In the Format Control dialog box, enter a cell address into the Cell link box and then click the OK button. In this case, I link the checkbox to cell H1, so I enter H1 into the box.

5. Select the number cells you will use to create heat map, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Color Scales > More Rules. See screenshot:

6. In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, please configure as follows.

  • 6.1 Select 3-Color Scale from the Format Style drop-down list;
  • 6.2 Separately select Formula in the Type boxes under the Minimum, Midpoint and Maximum drop down lists;
  • 6.3 Copy the below formula into the first Value box under the Minimum column;
  • =IF($H$1=TRUE,MIN($C$2:$F$12),FALSE)
  • Copy the below formula into the second Value box under the Midpoint column;
  • =IF($H$1=TRUE,AVERAGE($C$2:$F$12),FALSE)
  • And copy the below formula into the third Value box under the Maximum column;
  • =IF($H$1=TRUE,MAX($C$2:$F$12),FALSE)
  • 6.4 Specify the highlight colors as you need;
  • 6.5 Click the OK button.

From now on, when checking the checkbox, the heat map will display, otherwise, it will be hidden all the time. See below demo:

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