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Make a 3D Surface Plot Online with Plotly and Excel

3D Surface Plots with Plotly

Step 1

Upload your Excel data to Plotly's grid

Open the data file for this tutorial in Excel. You can download the file here in CSV format

Open data in excel

Step 2

Head to Plotly

Head to Plotly's Workspace and sign into your free Plotly account. Go to 'Import', click 'Upload a file', then choose your Excel file to upload. Your Excel file will now open in Plotly's grid. For more about Plotly's grid, see this tutorial

Import data

Step 3

Creating the Surface Plot

Select '3D Surface Plot' from the MAKE A PLOT button on menu bar.

Select Chart Type

Choose the input shape as 'Z Matrix', click on 'Select All Columns Button'. With these options enabled, click the plot button to create the chart

Create Chart

Step 4

Finalizing the chart

Your plot should look something like this:

Raw Plot

Now we will add some style elements to the generated plot. First, let's give it a name. We can add a title by clicking on the text box just above the plot:

Add Plot Title

Styling options are present on the left side of the plot. To set the background color, (1) Click on the 'Axis' selector on the toolbar, (2) Click on the 'Lines' tab from the pop-up, (3) Set 'Background' to 'On', and (4) Select background color from the color pallete.

Background Color

Axes and Grid: Go to 'Lines' tab from 'Axis' popover. (1) Set Grid Lines to 'On' and select white color from pop-up, (2) Set Zero Lines to 'On' and select white color from pop-up

Set Axes and Grid Color

Change Color Scale:Plotly allows us to set among a wide range of colorscales.To change the color scale of a plot, (1) Click on the 'Traces' popover from the toolbar, (2) Click on 'Style' tab from the pop-up, (3) Turn Auto Color to 'Off', and set one of the color-scales.

Set Colorscale

Step 5

Exporting the final chart

The final plot should look something like this:

Finished Plot

You can export the finished plot to embed in the excel notebook. We also recommend adding the Plotly link to the excel for easy access to the interactive version. To get the link to the chart, click on the 'Share' button. To export the chart, as an image, click on 'EXPORT' button on the toolbar.

Share Button

To add the Excel file to your workbook, click where you want to insert the picture inside Excel. On the INSERT tab inside Excel, click PICTURE. Locate the Plotly graph image that you downloaded and then double-click it:


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