The Power of Google Sheets Gradient Fill for Visual Impact

November 21, 2023 1.2K views

In the world of numbers and spreadsheets, Google Sheets is a handy friend. But there's one cool trick it has - Gradient Fill - that many folks don't know about. We're here to help you understand how to use it. This article will show you step by step, in plain language, how to make your Google Sheets look awesome with gradients. Let's get started!

Part 1: Why Use Gradients in Google Sheets?

Using gradients in Google Sheets can provide several benefits and advantages that enhance the visual appeal and functionality of your spreadsheets. Gradients are gradual transitions between two or more colors, and they can be applied to cells, shapes, backgrounds, and various other elements within your spreadsheet. Here are some reasons why you might want to use gradients in Google Sheets:

  1. Improved Data Visualization: Gradients can be used to represent data visually. By assigning colors to different data ranges and applying gradients, you can create data heatmaps that make it easier to spot trends, patterns, and outliers within your data. This is particularly useful for data analysis and reporting.

  2. Enhanced Aesthetics: Gradients can make your spreadsheet more visually appealing. They add a touch of creativity and can be used to design eye-catching headers, backgrounds, or callout boxes. Well-designed gradients can make your spreadsheet look more professional and engaging.

  3. Emphasis and Highlighting: Gradients can be employed to emphasize specific data or sections of your spreadsheet. By using a gradient fill in Google sheets, you can draw attention to particular cells or ranges, making it easier for your audience to focus on the most important information.

  4. Customization and Branding: Gradients allow for customization to match your company's or project's branding. You can choose colors that align with your brand's color scheme, making your spreadsheet visually consistent with other company materials.

  5. Data Clarity: When dealing with large and complex datasets, it's easy for information to become overwhelming. Gradients can help in breaking down and presenting data in a more comprehensible way. You can use different gradient colors to represent different levels of data or importance, aiding in data clarity.

Part 2: How to Fill Gradients in Google Sheets?

Color Gradient Using Conditional Formatting:

Step 1: Select the Data Range

Click and drag your mouse over the cells in your Google Sheets document that you want to include in the color gradient. This range should contain the data you want to format.

Step 2: Access Conditional Formatting

With your data range selected, go to the "Format" menu located at the top of the Google Sheets window.

From the "Format" menu, select "Conditional formatting."

Step 3: Choose and Configure Color Scale

Within the Conditional Format Rules sidebar on the right, you will find various formatting options. Choose "Color scale" from the list of available options.

Now, you can define the rules for the color gradient. You have the choice to use pre-set color scales or create a custom gradient.

To create a custom gradient, adjust the start color, end color, and the midpoint color according to your preferences.

Once you've set your desired color gradient rules, click "Done."

Conditional formatting is a straightforward way to apply gradients to your data, and it's great for quick visual representations of your data. However, it has some limitations, such as being tied to specific conditions. It's suitable for basic gradient needs but may not offer full customization options.

Color Gradient Using Google Apps Script:

Step 1: Open Google Apps Script Editor

Access the Google Apps Script editor by clicking on the "Extensions" menu at the top of your Google Sheets window, then selecting "Apps Script." This will open the Apps Script editor in a new tab.

Step 2: Insert and Run the Code

In the Google Apps Script editor, paste the code provided for creating the color gradient. You can customize this code as needed for your specific requirements.

function setGradientInSheets(firstColor, secondColor, steps) {

let start = {

'r': parseInt(firstColor.substr(0, 2), 16),

'g': parseInt(firstColor.substr(2, 2), 16),

'b': parseInt(firstColor.substr(4, 2), 16)


let end = {

'r': parseInt(secondColor.substr(0, 2), 16),

'g': parseInt(secondColor.substr(2, 2), 16),

'b': parseInt(secondColor.substr(4, 2), 16)


let diff = {

'r': end.r - start.r,

'g': end.g - start.g,

'b': end.b - start.b


let stepSize = {

'r': diff.r / (steps - 1),

'g': diff.g / (steps - 1),

'b': diff.b / (steps - 1)


let gradient = [];

for (let i = 0; i < steps; i++) {

let color = {

'r': start.r + (stepSize.r * i),

'g': start.g + (stepSize.g * i),

'b': start.b + (stepSize.b * i)



('0' + color.r.toString(16)).slice(-2) +

('0' + color.g.toString(16)).slice(-2) +

('0' + color.b.toString(16)).slice(-2)



return gradient;


function setGradientInSheets() {

// Getting Spreadsheet and adding Color

let sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSheet();

let gradient = colorGradient('d4002b', 'FFFF00', 256);

let start = 0;

//step is used to determine the size of each step in the gradient for each cell.

let step = Math.floor(256 / 6);

//Adding Gradients in C Cell from C2:C7

for (let i = 2; i <= 7="">

let color = gradient[start];

sheet.getRange("C" + i).setBackgroundColor('#' + color);

start += step;



Step 3: In the Apps Script editor, find and select the "setGradientInSheets" function that you've inserted.

Click on the "Run" button (a triangle icon) to execute the script. The code you've inserted will be executed, and you'll notice that a color gradient has been added to the specified range in your Google Sheets document (in this case, cell range C2:C7).

Google Apps Script provides extensive control over the gradients, allowing you to create more customized and dynamic solutions. You can use it for specific needs or automate gradient applications. Keep in mind that some scripting knowledge is required to use this method effectively.

Part 3: Tips for Google Sheets

Here are some useful tips to help you make the most of Google Sheets:

  1. Named Ranges: Use named ranges to make your formulas more readable. Instead of referencing cell coordinates, you can use names for clarity.

  2. Freeze Rows and Columns: Freeze rows and columns to keep headings and labels visible as you scroll through large datasets. Go to "View > Freeze" to do this.

  3. Conditional Formatting: Apply conditional formatting to highlight specific data points, trends, or values within your spreadsheet. It can make your data more visually informative.

  4. AutoFill: Google Sheets can automatically fill in sequences or patterns for you. Drag the small square in the bottom right corner of a cell to extend a series or pattern.

  5. Data Sorting and Filtering: Use the "Data" menu to sort and filter your data. You can sort alphabetically, numerically, or by date, and filter data to display only what you need.

  6. Charts and Graphs: Easily create charts and graphs from your data using the built-in chart tool. It's a powerful way to visualize data.

  7. Protect Sheets and Ranges: You can protect specific sheets or ranges to prevent accidental edits. This is especially useful for collaborative spreadsheets.

Part 4: Best Free Alternative to Google Sheets - WPS Office

WPS Office is a powerful and popular free alternative to Google Sheets and other office productivity suites. It is a comprehensive office suite that offers a range of applications for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. WPS Office is available for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.

  1. Compatibility: WPS Office is highly compatible with various office software suites, making it a versatile choice. It can seamlessly open, edit, and save files in formats commonly associated with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), LibreOffice, and Microsoft Office. This compatibility is a significant advantage, especially when collaborating with users of other office software.

  2. Free Version: WPS Office offers a free version that provides most of the essential features you would need for document creation and editing. This free version is a powerful alternative to paid office suites and is suitable for personal and business use.

  3. Rich Features: WPS Office offers a wide range of features, including advanced formatting and editing tools for word processing and spreadsheet work. It also provides presentation capabilities, making it a one-stop solution for many office-related tasks.

  4. Cross-Platform: With versions available for different operating systems and devices, WPS Office enables you to work on your documents seamlessly across multiple platforms. You can access your documents on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

WPS Office's flexibility, cross-platform availability, and compatibility with popular office software make it a noteworthy alternative to Google Sheets and other office suites. Whether you're a student, professional, or someone who simply needs office software for personal use, WPS Office is a capable and cost-effective choice.

How to Download WPS Office

Step 1: Visit the official WPS Office website.

Step 2: Locate the "Free Download" button

Step 3: The download will commence automatically.

Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation process.

How to Fill the Gradient Background in WPS Office

To Fill the Gradient Background in WPS Spreadsheet, follow these steps:

Step 1: Begin by opening the "Format Cells" dialog box and then select "Fill Effects." Within this dialog, you can configure the colors for "Color 1" and "Color 2."

Step 2: Once you've chosen the colors, you can further adjust the "Shading Styles" and "Variant" of the gradient fill.

Step 3: In the "Sample" section located at the lower right corner of the dialog box, you can preview the gradient effect.

Step 4: To finalize the process, simply click "OK," and the gradient background will be applied.


Can I use the IF function to change cell color?

Conditional formatting in Excel allows you to change cell colors based on specific conditions, eliminating the need for the IF function. To apply this, select the cell or cell range you want to format, then go to the "Home" tab and click "Conditional Formatting" in the "Styles" group.

How do I add color conditional formatting in Google Sheets?

Google Sheets offers single color conditional formatting, which evaluates each cell in a specified range and applies a formatting style if a cell meets the defined rule. To set this up, select "Format" > "Conditional formatting" and choose the "Single color" tab to configure your formatting rules.


This article explores the creative potential of Google Sheets Gradient Fill. It discusses the advantages of using gradients in data visualization, provides a detailed tutorial for implementing gradients, offers essential Google Sheets tips, and introduces a powerful free alternative - WPS Office. WPS Office's compatibility with various office suites is emphasized, along with practical insights from personal experience.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.