What can you learn here?

  • ramp color scales
  • using in surface charts
  • brighten/darken

Creating Charts with colorRamps

Create a heatmap in Excel showed how to make charts using the heatmap color ramp. Now that we have a generalized Color ramp library it is straightforward to extend the charting to do this too. As usual this code is implemented in the cDataSet.xlsm module downloadable from Download Complete Projects You can also use a color ramp to create shape overlays for Google Maps; see Overlaying circles and heatmaps, or here for simple shapes or maps


Creating charts programmatically

Setting up charts manually doesn’t easily allow for the creation of a smooth transition between colors, but using automation along with a variable color ramp makes the whole thing very simple. Consider this heatmap plot of a function, SIN(SQRT(x*y)/3)

It is simply a 3d surface chart, with 200 categories to give it a smooth transition between colors.It can be created simply using the Data Manipulation Classes and Color ramp library as follows Public Sub colorRampVisualize()    Dim dsout As New cDataSet    createSurfaceChart _        dsout.populateData(wholeSheet(“crampviz”), , “crampviz”, True, , , True, “y/x”), _        “crampChart”, xlSurfaceTopView, 200, “heatmaptowhite”, FalseEnd Sub We can use a different library entry, in the case a ‘terrain’ ramp, and get thiswith this code Public Sub colorRampTerrain()    Dim dsout As New cDataSet    createSurfaceChart _        dsout.populateData(wholeSheet(“crampviz”), , “crampviz”, True, , , True, “y/x”), _        “terrainchart”, xlSurfaceTopView, 200, “terrain”, False, 1.3End Sub Note that I use a ‘brighten’ ratio of 1.3 in this case. I thought that the terrainchart library entry was a bit dark, so you can keep the same ramp but apply a factor to the brightness. The default value is 1meaning – use the library colors as is. You can find the code for the colorramp library in cDataSet download or explained in Color ramp library. See How to create a heatmap doughnut chart for another application of heatmaps to charts. 

Creating topographic charts.

I you had a table of longitudes and latitudes against elevation, you could even produce a terrain map. Here’s an example using randomly generated data.And here is the code Public Sub colorRampElevation()    Dim dsout As New cDataSet, ds As New cDataSet    ‘ the formula data contains rand() function so it will recalculate-    Application.Calculate    ‘ copy the values elsewhere so it doesnt happen again and change the finished chart    ds.populateData(wholeSheet(“elevate”), , , , , , True).bigCommit _            whereIsThis(“straightcopy!a1”), True    ‘base on the copied data    createSurfaceChart _        dsout.populateData(wholeSheet(“straightcopy”), , “elevate”, True, , , True, “lat/lon”), _        “top”, , 400, “terrainnosea”, False, , False        End Sub

Create chart code

This is a ‘souped up’ version of the one already covered in Create a heatmap in Excel Option ExplicitPublic Function createSurfaceChart(ds As cDataSet, n As String, _                    Optional xlt As Long = xlSurface, _                    Optional targetLegends As Long = 0, _                    Optional colorRampName As String = “heatmap”, _                    Optional showLegend As Boolean = True, _                    Optional brighten As Double = 1, _                    Optional showAxis As Boolean = True) As Chart    Dim cht As Chart, s As Series, dr As cDataRow, dc As cCell, sc As Double, x As Axis    Dim i As Long, red As Long, blue As Long, green As Long, m As Long    Dim ax As Axis     ‘ clean up previous attempt    deleteChart (n)    If targetLegends > 0 Then        sc = (ds.max) / targetLegends    End If        ‘add the chart    Set cht = Charts.add    With cht        .name = n        For i = .SeriesCollection.Count To 1 Step -1            .SeriesCollection(i).Delete        Next i        Set x = .Axes(xlValue)        If sc > 0 Then            x.MajorUnit = sc        End If        x.HasMajorGridlines = False        For i = ds.rows.Count To 1 Step -1            Set dr = ds.rows(i)            With .SeriesCollection.NewSeries                .name = dr.cell(1).Where                .XValues = ds.headingRow.Where.Offset(, 1).Resize(, dr.columns.Count – 1)                .values = dr.Where.Offset(, 1).Resize(, dr.Where.columns.Count – 1)            End With        Next i        .ChartType = xlt                       If Not showAxis Then            For i = .Axes.Count To 1 Step -1                .Axes(i).Delete            Next i            .Floor.ClearFormats        End If        With .Legend            ‘ for some reason legendcount is not ready immediately            Application.Wait DateAdd(“s”, 1, Now)            For i = 1 To .LegendEntries.Count                .LegendEntries(i).LegendKey.Interior.color = _                    rampLibraryRGB(colorRampName, 1, .LegendEntries.Count, i, brighten)                            Next i        End With        .HasLegend = showLegend     End With        Set createSurfaceChart = chtEnd FunctionPrivate Function deleteChart(n As String)    Dim cht As Chart, i As Long     For i = Charts.Count To 1 Step -1        Set cht = Charts(i)        If Trim(LCase(cht.name)) = Trim(LCase(n)) Then            cht.Delete            Exit For        End If    Next i End Function 


For more tips like this, take a look at Get Started Snippets In the meantime why not join our forum, follow the blog or follow me on twitter to ensure you get updates when they are available. You can also submit anything you want considered for publication, including any nice color ramps you come up, with on this site to our forum.   Other related pages to this one are Color ramp libraryCreate a heatmap in ExcelVBA rgb to htmlRGBA tagCloud in OutlookHow to create a tag cloud and Data Manipulation Classes  

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