Microsoft Excel Treemap

If you want to display hierarchical data in a compact visual, you can use a treemap chart. In Microsoft Excel, you can create and customize a treemap in just minutes. We’ll show you how.

About Treemap Charts

As mentioned, treemaps are intended to work with hierarchical data, and this data has one-to-many relationships. Treemaps are a good tool for displaying things like best-selling products, location population, regional sales, and similar parent-child structured data.

RELATED: How to Create an Organizational Chart in PowerPoint

A treemap uses nested, colored rectangles which you can think of as the branches. Every item in the dataset is represented by a rectangle and the sizes of each correlate to the number data.

Treemap chart

The benefits of a treemap include an easy way to spot patterns, similarities, and anomalies, and a structured method of showing pieces of a whole. The compactness of a treemap also makes it an unobtrusive visual in your spreadsheet.

How to Create a Treemap in Excel

The best way to organize the data for your treemap is to start with the main category or parent in the first column. Then, add the subcategories, subsequent items, and number data in the columns to the right.

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As an example, we’ll use a simple three-column dataset. We have our best-selling products which are categorized by type in the first column. The products within each category are in the second column. And finally, our units sold are in the third column.

Treemap hierarchical data

Select the data for the chart and head to the Insert tab. Click the “Hierarchy” drop-down arrow and select “Treemap.”

On the Insert tab, click Hierarchy, Treemap

The chart will immediately display in your spreadsheet. And you can see how the rectangles are grouped within their categories along with how the sizes are determined.

In the screenshot below, you can see the largest product sold, Accessories > Cap, and the smallest, Shoes > Sandals.

Treemap largest and smallest items

Next, you can make some changes to the appearance, move or resize the chart, and give it a title.

How to Customize a Treemap in Excel

The best place to start customizing your treemap is by giving it a title. By default, the name is Chart Title. Simply click that text box and enter a new name.

Enter a chart title

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Next, you can select a style, color scheme, or different layout for the treemap. Select the chart and go to the Chart Design tab that displays. Use the variety of tools in the ribbon to customize your treemap.

Chart Design tab in Excel

For fill and line styles and colors, effects like shadow and 3-D, or exact size and proportions, you can use the Format Chart Area sidebar. Either right-click the chart and pick “Format Chart Area” or double-click the chart to open the sidebar.

Format Chart Area sidebar

On Windows, you’ll see two handy buttons on the right of your chart when you select it. With these, you can add, remove, and reposition Chart Elements. And you can pick a style or color scheme with the Chart Styles button.

Chart Elements, position Legend

To move your chart to a new spot on your sheet, simply select it, then drag and drop it where you want it. To resize the chart, you can drag inward or outward from a corner or edge.

Drag to resize the chart in Excel

Charts are super visuals that can help display your data in easy-to-read ways for your audience. So, you might also consider creating a waterfall chart or a Pareto chart in Microsoft Excel.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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