Apply colors to data points or series using color rules

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1. Overview

Use color rules to apply colors to data points or series based on their values. There are three types of color rules you can apply:

  1. Discrete Color Rule - used to apply a specific color to a member of a hierarchy.
  2. Auto Color Rule - used to automatically come up with ranges of values and apply colors to them.
  3. Range Color Rule - used to apply a specific color to a range of values.

Note
The following examples apply to charts, but the settings in the Properties window apply to most other visualizations.

2. Apply a discrete color rule

Discrete color rules assign what color is used for a particular hierarchy value. You can add multiple to assign different colors for a series of values.

As an example, we will drag TotalDue to the canvas as a measure, add OrderDate  and re-visualize the resulting visualization as a bar chart.

Bar chart showing OrderQty by OrderDate
Bar chart showing OrderQty by OrderDate

In the Data Analysis Panel, click Visualization, then click More... under TotalDue Series.

Data Analysis Panel - Visualization
Data Analysis Panel - Visualization

Add the hierarchy under Color, which is OrderDate in this example. You can click click to add, drag the hierarchy from the Explore window, or from elsewhere in the Data Analysis panel.

Add OrderDate hierarchy under Color
Add OrderDate hierarchy under Color

The color rules are now activated and discrete color rules are created for each value. Click the brush icon to the right of the Color heading to open the Look properties.

Color Rules collection
Color Rules collection

Click the + button to add a Discrete Color Rule or click an existing rule (for example, 2012) to edit it. Choose the color you want and the corresponding hierarchy value (e.g., OrderDate).

Choose the color and corresponding hierarchy value
Choose the color and corresponding hierarchy value

Click the back button at the top of the properties to go back to the list of color rules.

Note
The color rules are applicable for the entire chart. If you use the same hierarchy for the color of another series, the existing color rules will apply to it as well.

3. Apply an auto color rule

Auto Color Rules automatically come up with a series of colors applied based on measure values. You can change their settings to determine how different ranges of values are calculated and assigned colors.

For this example, we will use the same bar chart setup as in the example above, changing the default OrderDate hierarchy level to Month.

This time, instead of OrderDate, drag the TotalDue measure under Color.

Add TotalDue measure under Color
Add TotalDue measure under Color

An auto color rule is automatically created and applied to the chart.

An Auto Color Rule is automatically applied
An Auto Color Rule is automatically applied

Click the brush icon to the right of the Color heading to open the related properties.

Color Rules collection
Color Rules collection

If not already opened, click Auto Color Rule to edit it:

  • Click on the + button next to From Value and enter 2000000. This will prevent values under 2M from being included in the color rule.
  • Click on the + button next to To Value and enter 7000000. Uncheck To Inclusive. This will prevent values over and including 7M from being included in the color rule.
  • Set Number Of Classes to 5 and the Distribution to Equal Interval. This will assign a different color to each million in the range.
  • Set From Color to Yellow and To Color to Red. This will create shades of colors where the hue changes from yellow to red as the values increase.

Edit the auto color rule
Edit the auto color rule

Note
Use Legend Text to customize how the ranges of values will be displayed in a legend. See the article on Formatting text for syntax details. Use the Legend Category property to create a category name that groups the legend items created by this rule.

4. Apply a range color rule

Range Color Rules can set a specific color to use for a range that you specify. You can add multiple to set up a series of ranges.

Open the Properties window to the chart's Look properties, and find Color Rules (click the back button if continuing from the previous example).

Click on the menu icon next to the + button under Color Rules collection.

Color rules menu
Color rules menu

Select Range Color Rule to add a new custom range.

Select Range Color Rule
Select Range Color Rule

Click the range color rule to edit it. Set To Value to 2000000, uncheck To Inclusive, and select a color. 

Edit the range color rule
Edit the range color rule

5. See also

 

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