Earlier this week I wrote about how to create great looking graphs in Excel. Within that article, I emphasized the importance of choosing colors for your graphs. Most importantly, selecting colors that go well together and selecting colors that help put emphasis on the key metrics/data points in the chart.
In this post, I thought it would be useful to provide a set of resources that can help you select the right colors. Below are a list of completely free resources and steps to get you started.
1. Eye Dropper for Chrome [Browser Extension]
This browser extension is the best way to match any color on the web. Eye Dropper for Chrome let’s you extract color codes within a client or brands website quickly and easily. Once a color is selected, the tool will output the color in multiple formate including – hexidecimal, hsl, or rgb for use in HTML, Excel, or any other analytics tool you may be using.
I find this tool exceptionally useful when I need to create a dashboard or scorecard of a new client or new brand. All of the following colors were pulled using the Eye Dropper tool:
Merrimack College Athletics
If you’re not a chrome user, you could find eye-dropper extensions for other browsers by searching for color pickers on Google. If you have experience using other tools, please write a comment.
2. Color Scheme Designer 3
The Color Scheme Designer is a great tool if you are unsure which colors you want to use in a graph. The Color Scheme Designer 3 is a good choice when you need to add multiple colors (up to 20) on a chart. The only challenge I had with
this tool is that all the colors suggested in the palettes are very vibrant and bold, which isn’t always right for every chart.
This tools has a few advanced features that you might not find with other color scheme generators:
- Colorblind Views
- Randomized Palettes
- Color Theory Application
- Advanced Scheme Adjustments
3. Adobe Kuler – Color Wheel
Adobe Kuler is a great tool for exploring different color options for your charts and graphs. I use Kuler when I want to check out color themes that are most popular.
Kuler let’s you explore over hundreds of color palettes that have been voted, liked and shared often by other users – ensuring that your charts, graphs, or dashboard appeal to others.
The last color palette generator on the list is Degraeve.com. This comes in handy when you have an image of the theme you need.
According to Degraeve.com you can –
“Make color schemes. Enter the URL of an image to get a color palette that matches the image. This is useful for coming up with a website color scheme that matches a stock photo a client wants to work with.”
This site can be particularly useful when creating a dashboard or infographic that includes multiple colors and graphics.
The screenshot is for the best tennis lessons website in the world. Just kidding, that was just a shameless plug for the other website I run – TopspinSports.