How to add conditional colouring to Scatterplots in Excel

Conditional Colouring in Scatter Plots

In this tutorial, we will see how to add conditional colouring to scatterplots in Excel. I came across this trick when I was creating scatterplots for an article on Gestalt laws. I wanted the dots on the plot to be in 3 different colours based on which group they belonged to.┬áThere isn’t a straightforward way to do this in Excel but with a little data wrangling, its very easy to get this done.

So here is how to do this.

How to add conditional colouring to scatterplots in Excel?

Here is the data we are going to work with. Its a simple table with X and Y values.

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

Each data point is assigned a group based on a condition. We want each group to show up in a different colour on our scatterplot.

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

Step 1: Preparing the data

Take the Y column and break it down into 3 columns A, B and C depending on the group the data point belongs to. To do this, we use the excel IF condition:

IF (Condition, Value if True, Value if False)

The condition we use is “label of the column = the group name”.For example, for the first data point, in column A, we check if A = C. If the condition is true we populate the column A with the Y value 25. Else we add an NA() to the column. In our example, the value will be NA.

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

Drag the formula down the A column and repeat the same steps for column B and C

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

Step 2: Draw the scatterplot

Select Insert and pick an empty scatterplot.

Then select the columns X, A, B,C

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

Click OK. Here is the scatterplot with 3 groups in different colours.

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

Step 3: Edit the colours

To edit the colours, select the chart -> Format -> Select Series A from the drop down on top left.

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

In the format pane, select the fill and border colours for the marker.

conditional colouring scatterplots excel

Repeat these steps for Series B and Series C.

Here is our final scatterplot.

Conditional Colouring in Scatter Plots

Do these steps work for you? If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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