Faster choropleth maps with Microsoft Excel

This blog post by Robert Mundigl for Clearly and Simply provides detailed guidance on producing choropleth maps using Excel. Providing step-by-step guidance and detailed examples the blog also provides a link to a workbook for free download.


'I know I mentioned this on several occasions before (and in the introduction, too), but I want to reemphasize it once more: the approach how to create Choropleth Maps in Excel wasn’t my idea. The whole concept and the VBA code is the brainchild of Tushar Mehta, long time Microsoft Excel MVP, who published this with an example workbook (Conditional Color of Shapes) a long time before I wrote my first article on Choropleth Maps with Excel here.

Here are the cornerstones of Tushar’s technique:

On the worksheet(s):

  1. A map with one Microsoft Office shape for each region (e.g. US state)
  2. Each shape has a name (e.g. S_CA for the shape of California)
  3. One named range for each cell containing the data to be visualized (e.g. D_CA for California)
  4. A lookup table assigning the named shapes to the named ranges (the data). This range with this lookup table is called “MapNameToShape”
  5. Another lookup table assigning RGB values (the colors) to a defined number of bins (thresholds to define which value will be visualized by which color). This lookup table has the range name “MapValueToColor”'


  • The Original Approach
  • The Challenge
  • The Background
  • The Improved Version
  • The Bonus Features
  • The Download Link


Mundigl, R., (2012), Faster Choropleth Maps with Microsoft Excel, Clearly and Simply. Retrieved from:

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