How to get complementary colors in powerpoint?
August 1, 2012 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Powerpoint Chart Colors Question: can someone tell me how to calculate the R/G/Y values for similar colors?

Using Powerpoint 2007 on a Windows machine. I have a stacked bar chart that all needs to be the same color (blue for example). How do I select 4-5 shades of blue that are complementary yet distinct from each other? I am hoping there is some magic way to use the R/G/Y values to generate several different shades.

Note that ultimately I want to create 4-5 "standard" sets of colors: If you need to use red and blue, here are the 4-5 shades of blue to use and here are the 4-5 shades of red to use. These will become the standard for the (new) company I work for. Thoughts? Need clarification? I don't want to buy a template or a set of templates when all I need are 4-5 shades for a handful of colors.
posted by Farce_First to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I am not sure I am clear what you want, but Colorcop comes to mind.
posted by Michele in California at 5:44 PM on August 1, 2012

You may find Kuler by Adobe useful. You can use it online and enter in the RGB color color as the base and have it create a palette of 5 colors that are analogous, or shades, or monochromatic (those options are at the upper left). If you want to edit them, you can click on "custom" and mess with it. It's simple to use, but unfortunately since it's for Adobe products, you'll have to manually enter the RGB codes into Powerpoint.

It looks like PowerPoint has added in the ability to create custom schemes, too, maybe this free Powerpoint add-in will make things easier.
posted by thesocietyfor at 5:47 PM on August 1, 2012

I would suggest looking through the hits you get for "color calculator"; there are lots of web-based tools for mathematically computing things based upon color values. Eric Meyer's Color Blender might come in handy, for example.
posted by XMLicious at 5:47 PM on August 1, 2012

My moment of pedantry of the day: careful saying "complementary" shades of blue, since "complementary" has its own meaning in colour theory.

This is what I play with sometimes:

Pick a monochrome scheme, set it to the hue you want. I'm not sure if Powerpoint will take Hex code for colours, so you'll need to do something else if that's not the case.
posted by RobotHero at 7:07 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Powerpoint already does that for you, and it does it for charts as well as for drawing objects. If you build your color palette for your Powerpoint template, all the drop down colors are in the same family as the color in your palette. So if you launch Powerpoint and look at the default Microsoft template, and then insert a shape, say, and go to the Shape Fill drop-down, there are lighter and darker versions (six of 'em) built off each color. Blue has lightest blue, light blue, medium blue, blue, darker blue, and darkest blue. Red will have lightest pink, light pink, medium pink, red, darker red, and darkest red. It's all already there.

You just need to build your initial color palette (eight colors plus white and black) and then you'll have all the lighter and darker versions you need.

Memail me with questions. I do this for a living.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:57 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Clone boulevard is right, Powerpoint does for you, once you've picked your palette. If you like what it gives you, just stick with that -- with the automatic colors, all of your fills change automatically if you change themes.

If you need to pick your own, Color Brewer v1 and v2 will give you the RGB, hex, and CMYK of up to nine sequential shades of six single hues. It's meant for choropleths, but it does just what you want, and shows color schemes that are safe for printing and colorblindness.
posted by mgar at 7:20 AM on August 2, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - I think between clone boulevard and the various color tools I should be all set.

Unfortunately the bigger problem is going to be getting 4-5 people to actually agree to a final set of colors...
posted by Farce_First at 3:34 AM on August 3, 2012

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