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How to Add Data Visualizations in Excel 2010

In Excel 2010, you can instantly apply data visualizations to cells using data bars, color scales, and icon sets that help you understand data variations in your tables. Excel provides several options as thumbnails that you simply click to apply the visualization, but you also can specify your own rules with which to apply the visual formatting. For example, you can change the colors used in a color scale gradient to match other colors used in a particular worksheet.

Follow these steps to add visualizations to your data in Excel 2010:

  1. Select the cells to which you want to apply formatting.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click the Conditional Formatting button.

  3. Select from the following options:

    Examples of data visualizations in Excel 2010: data bars, a color scale, and an icon set.
    Examples of data visualizations in Excel 2010: data bars, a color scale, and an icon set.
    • Data Bars: A gradient-style bar helps you see the value of a cell relative to other cells. The length of the data bar represents the value in the cell, so a longer bar represents a higher value and a shorter bar represents a lower value. The data bars have six different color options (in both gradient fill and solid fill) designed to match Excel themes.

    • Color Scales: Designed to visually help you understand your data, color scales compare a range of cells by using two colors representing higher or lower values or three colors representing higher, middle, or lower values. The color scale bars include a variety of color themes, including red, yellow, and green. You can also create your own scheme by choosing More Rules under the Color Scales options.

    • Icon Sets: Icon sets help you classify data into three, four, or five categories with each icon representing a range of values such as higher, middle, and lower. Icon sets include arrows, traffic lights, stars, and flags.

      Select the icon set you want to use to represent your data.
      Select the icon set you want to use to represent your data.

To clear visualization formatting, select the formatted cells and then click the Conditional Formatting button on the Home tab. Point to Clear Rules and then select Clear Rules from Selected Cells.

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