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Heatmaps in Chart Studio

A graphical representation of data where the individual values contained in a matrix are represented as colors

Step 1

Try an Example

Heatmaps are one of the best visualization tools for dense point data.

After selecting 'Heatmap' under 'Chart Type', you can check out an example before adding your own data. Clicking the 'try an example' button will show what a sample chart looks like after adding data and playing with the style. You'll also see what values and style attributes were selected for this specific heatmap, as well as the end result.

Example after

You can also use the data featured in this tutorial by clicking on 'Open This Data in Plotly' on the left-hand side. It'll open in your workspace.

Open data

Step 2

Add Your Data to Plotly

Head to Plotly’s new online workspace and add your data. You have the option of typing directly in the grid, uploading your file, or entering a URL of an online dataset. Plotly accepts .xls, .xlsx, or .csv files. For more information on how to enter your data, see this tutorial.

Import data main

Step 3

Create a Chart

After adding your own data, go to GRAPH on the left-hand side, then 'Create'. Choose 'Heatmap' under 'Chart type’.

Choose chart main

Click on GRAPH on the left-hand side to add your axes to your heatmap. After selecting ‘Heatmap', you should then fill out the Z, X and Y dropdown to create the plot.

Adding axes

This will create a raw heatmap, as seen below.

Raw heatmap

Step 4

Style a Chart

You can choose your colorscale, text position, or typeface. Click on STYLE on the left-hand side to play around with the style of your chart.

To change the color gradients of your heatmap, select ‘Traces’ under the same STYLE tab, and choose the colorscale you want.


After you've chosen your colorscale, you have the option to smooth your heatmap to create a continuous heatmap. So far, we've had it with the 'Smoothing' option off.

Smoothing before

This is when the 'Smoothing' option is selected.

Smoothing after

To add a title to your plot, you can type it directly on the title by double-clicking it. The same can be done for the axis labels and legend.

Type directly title

Another option is to visit the 'Layout' section under STYLE, click on 'Text' and enter your title in the box, as shown below. Note that certain typeface are only available with a PRO subscription. Click here to upgrade!

Type in layout panel

Step 5

Save and Share

Your heatmap is now done! Click SAVE on the left-hand side.

Save main

Give your PLOT and DATA a filename and select them as 'Public' or 'Private'. For more information on how sharing works, including the difference between private, public, and secret sharing, visit this page.

Save pop-up

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