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# How to show positive / negative colors in area charts? [Quick tip]

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Ever wanted to make an area chart with up down colors, something like this? Then this tip is for you.

## How to create area chart with up / down colors?

Simple. You need,

• Data with positive & negative values.
• optional: A cup of coffee or a cold beverage of your choice.

Start by creating a regular area chart. You will get this:

Now, select the are and go to format settings (use shortcut CTRL+1).

Go to fill color for the area and change it to gradient fill.

Set it to one of the default gradient fills, you will see a screen like this.

### The last step: Setting two color gradient

We are nearly there. Take a victory sip out of that coffee cup or cold beverage. First calculate the mid point for our gradient stops. This will be =maximum up value / (maximum up value + maximum absolute down value)

For example, if your data has +5 has maximum positive value and -5 as maximum negative value, then the gradient stop will be 50% since 5 divided by (5+5) is 50%.

Take another sip and set the gradient stops as shown below.

• Create 4 gradient stops (most of the default gradient settings have 4 stops)
• Set stop 1 & 2 to positive color (say blue)
• Stop 3 & 4 to negative color (say red)
• Adjust the position of 2 & 3 to the gradient stop calculation you have done earlier.
• Make sure Gradient is linear with 90 degrees

## Watch video tutorial: Area chart with positive / negative colors

If you are not sure about the whole gradient color trick, check out this video. I explain clearly the idea with few examples (plus there is a bonus trick in there). See it below or head over to my YouTube Channel for it.

## More charting tricks

If you enjoyed this charting trick, there is more where it came from. Check out below examples and spice up your dull chart life.

Cropped chart: When some values are too big

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### 4 Responses to “How to show positive / negative colors in area charts? [Quick tip]”

1. Andreas Weidner says:

Thanks, Chandoo, for tutorials. Learned a lot.

Unfortunately could not learn about the running biker.
The link "Target vs. Actual with Biker on a hill chart" has a link to another tutorial.

I would like to see the biker! ðŸ™‚

2. Rob says:

This only works if the highest value and lowest value are the same. Which makes it kind of pointless. If the goal is to have one colour below 0 and another above, when negative might only go down to -10 and positive up to 50, this will never work. Actually found it to be a waste of time.

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