To create a choropleth map in Google Sheets follow the steps below:
Step 1: Select the data set.
Step 2: Go to the Insert tab and select Chart.
Step 3: Select Geo chart from the Chart type menu.
Spreadsheet template with examples. Get a copy here.
- What is a choropleth map?
- How to create a choropleth map in Google Sheets
- Customise the choropleth map
- Export the map to an external website
What is a choropleth map?
Choropleth maps are possibly the most popular type of thematic maps available on the internet. If you have read an article on population densities or other variations in specific values across a geographic location then there is a big chance that the data was presented to you as a choropleth map.
The choropleth map is an effective way to visualize data by using colour to mark differences in the quantity or degree of a subject per geographic area.
You can easily create a choropleth map in Google Sheets in a few steps. What’s more, Google Sheets also makes it possible to customize and publish these maps on websites or blogs to aid us in our storytelling. In this guide, we will look at how to do all that. So let’s get started!
How to create a choropleth map in Google Sheets
Creating a choropleth map in Google Sheets is an easy task, thanks to the numerous easy-to-use chart types available in Google Sheets by default. We can summarize the entire process into 3 steps.
Step 1: Enter the data for the choropleth map in Google Sheets
Every chart in Google Sheets displays some sort of data. We must first begin with a table.
A global brand has collected sales data in the various countries where its product is available. The brand is trying to visualize its performance in the regions they do business. Below is the data representing sales per country.
In the remaining steps, we will represent this data set in a visual format that accurately captures the brand’s sales performance and presents it in an easy-to-understand manner.
Step 2: Open the chart editor
To insert a chart into a worksheet in Google Sheets we need to open the chart editor, simply do the following:
- Highlight the entire table. The choropleth map needs both columns to show us the sales per region.
- With the data highlighted, go to the Insert menu ➡ Chart
- On clicking Chart, Google Sheets automatically selects a column chart for our data. This is a default configuration, so we need to change the chart type to what we need.
Let us find a choropleth map from the chart types available in the Chart editor.
Step 3: Insert the choropleth map in Google Sheets
To change the selected chart from a column chart to a choropleth map, open the chart editor by clicking on the 3 dots in the top left corner of your Chart. Then do the following:
- Click on the drop-down icon in the Chart type box
- Scroll down the list of charts until you find the Map option
- Select the Geo chart to insert a choropleth map. Google Sheets will render the data in the form of a geographic map.
Below is our map representing the values from our table. Hover over a region with your mouse and Google Sheets will show the sales data associated with that region. The colours as you can see are of different shades indicating the different amounts of sales.
How to customize the choropleth map in Google Sheets
As with most charts in Google Sheets, there are customization options available. To view these options you can
- Open the chart editor by clicking on the three dots in the uppermost right corner of the chart.
- Select the Edit chart option
This will open the Chart editor.
The Chart editor contains two tabs — Setup and Customize.
- The Setup tab lets us modify the configuration data of our chart and determine how the choropleth map interprets the data.
- The Customize tab contains all the customization features available for our Choropleth map. These are grouped into two subsections – Chart style and Geo.
Let us change the colour of the choropleth map.
Changing the colour of the choropleth map
To change the colour of the choropleth map we can do the following :
- Open the Chart editor
- Open the Customize tab
- Select Geo
- Set the min and max colours to ones of your choice
The min colour refers to the colour the map will use to denote the regions of lowest sales, the max colour is the reverse.
Let’s set the min colour to green. Simply choose a colour from the drop-down.
Above is our map with a new colour.
Another thing we can do is to change the colour of the map’s background. To do this we select Chart Style this time from the Customize tab instead of Geo and then:
- Select background colour
- Pick a colour of your choice
Asides from changing colours, there are other interesting options we can use in our Chart editor. For instance, we might decide we want to only focus on the data for a particular country. We can change the map’s view from Continent to Country using these steps:
- Go to the customize tab
- Select Geo ➡ Region
- Pick a country from the available list.
How to export the choropleth map to a website
A choropleth map isn’t so useful if it just sits in our spreadsheet. Most times, people design choropleth maps to publish them to websites where they can be seen. Google Sheets makes doing that an cakewalk.
To export the choropleth map, we do the following:
- Open the chart editor by clicking on the three dots in the uppermost right corner of the map.
- Click Publish Chart.
The Publish to the web popup below will appear
We can either copy a link or embed the map. Let us use the link option.
- Click on the Link option
- Set the map type to Interactive
- A link will appear on clicking the Publish button.
- Copy this link and paste it on your website.
The choropleth map is an easy way to visualize the change in a variable relative to geographic regions. They are popularly used in topics like population density, during elections to present votes per region, economic growth, etc. Making one in Google Sheets is simple as we have seen.
Some related questions
Can I insert a map in Google Sheets?
Yes, you can. Google Sheets is popular for having a wide variety of charts to enable easy data visualization. Asides from the collection of regular charts, you can also insert geographic tools such as choropleth maps in Google Sheets.
To insert a map :
- Click on insert
- Go to Chart
- Scroll down the list of charts until you get to the section labeled “Map”.
How do you make a choropleth map in Google Sheets?
To make a choropleth map in Google Sheets, follow the steps below
- Highlight the map data
- Go to Chart
- Scroll down the list of charts to the Map section — this contains a choropleth map and a bubble map.
- Select the Geo chart option
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