How Do I Color-Code My Business Location Data?

Another common MapBusinessOnline Chat inquiry centers around color-coding imported address data points. Any address or Latitude/Longitude dataset imported into MapBusinessOnline can be color-coded by symbol.  You can also color-code by map layer (ZIP code, county, Census tract).  So, by all means, add extra columns to your data for color-coding. (Some people use the term color coating map.)

Your spreadsheet should include columns for Name | Address | City | ZIP code | Sales | Sales Rep | any other data you want to include. Read more about importing data here.

Business map users color-code and symbolize their imported layer for a variety of reasons which could include:

  • To differentiate location points by type of business
  • To display ranked sales by rep or account
  • To quickly identify where a field person starts their day

Color-Code with Symbols

Keep in mind, in MapBusinessOnline, when using the Symbols button (the three colored dots under the Color-code section of the Master Toolbar), you can only color-shade your points and symbols by one theme or one column of your data. For example, you can color-code points based on Revenue 2018. But you can’t color-code by both Sales Rep and by Revenue 2018.

If you want to color-code by two or three themes or variants use the Color-code with Circles or put Charts on the Map options. Both are buttons on the master toolbar.

That being said, you could color-code a set of imported addresses by Sales Rep and then note the Revenue 2018 in the point’s label. You could also note the revenue by state, county, or territory in those respective labels. Those revenue numbers would be totals, aggregated by jurisdiction. MapBusinessOnline’s labeling function will sum the data for you. Each jurisdiction label, and each imported point Callout has five flexible label fields for you to populate. That’s in addition to name and address data labels.  Read more about labeling here.

Most of the time you will use the Symbol Color-Coding button on the master toolbar to color-code points. MapBusinessOnline lets the user color and symbolize with a range of up to 100 colored symbols. That’s plenty. Any more than that and you’ll lose your map audience’s attention (first their eyes glaze over, then they start to drool.) It’s all part of learning how to color-code a map.

Within the color-code by symbol dialogue the business mapping software user can:

  • Adjust coloring shades of symbols – MapBusinessOnline even accepts HEX number id’s
  • Choose symbols from the library or import your own symbols
  • Adjust color-shade range values
  • Choose from preselected coloring schemes

Best of all, it’s wicked easy to tweak. Just click the Symbol Color-Coding button again to adjust the coloring scheme to your liking. You’ll find that it remembers what you did.

For the most part we’ve focused on color-coding your imported business data, I just want to remind you that you could search for and download Business Listings and apply the exact same color-coding rules to those points. Read more on Business Listings here.

Remember, if you want to represent three separate columns of revenue covering three years, select the Color Code with Circle or Put Charts on the Map buttons. These buttons allow you to select two or three comparative columns and adjust the data symbol intensities and chart options, creating obvious comparative visualizations for your map viewers.

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Color-Code Map or Boundaries Button

But wait. You could also uncheck you imported Data Layer in Map and Data and color-code map layers and territories based on imported data columns. The same rules apply, but this time your color-shading will be applied to ZIP codes, State, Counties, or Territories. Read more about Color-Shading ZIP codes etc. here.

In some business circles, the color-shading of administrative districts like ZIP codes is called heat mapping. In MapBusinessOnline we include our Heat Mapping option, which simply plots graduated intensity colors based on numeric values in a column of your data. Use the Heat Map button on the master toolbar to try that out on your map.  This is a great way to display sales figures because it quickly shows the most intense areas of activity. And it’s a great way to wake up that drooling audience (see ‘drool’ above.)

The Boundaries button is also a way to access Demographic Data for color-shading a map layer. For instance, you could color code the ZIP code layer on a map by population levels in each county, or you could color-shade the city limits layer by medium income.

Just as with color shading by points the Boundaries button dialogue provides controls over summation by map layer, exact color, data source, number of ranges, color applied to areas with no data, and it offers preselected color schemes.

Boundaries functionality is also reachable through any map layer settings gear in Map and Data. Look for the Color Code Map layer button. It’s nice to have multiple ways to get to the same operation across the program.

Single Symbol & Color for Imported Points

You will notice, as you import your business data the application automatically assigns a color and a symbol to your data.  You’ll see blue dots or circles at 50% presentation size on the map after import.  To adjust these points to a new color or symbol, without a creating a whole color-coding scheme, simply select the imported layer in Map and Data and click the edit settings gear – here you will find a symbol selector and a color and size adjustment tool.  You will find the same adjustment tools in the Data Window when the data layer is selected.

Same Bat function, two Bat places

Use these selectors and adjusters to tweak the point layer on the map – change from one color for all points to another color. Change the size of all points. Or choose a new symbol for all locations. But if you want to apply a full color-coding and symbol variation scheme, return to the top of this blog.

Import You’re Own Symbols

In all of the above scenarios, where the symbol library is available, you have the option to import your own small Jpeg symbols. Place your cursor in the Symbol Selector as if to select a new symbol. But instead of selecting a symbol, push the scroll bar on the right to the top. There it is – the ‘import your symbol’ function.  It’s pretty self-explanatory. Before you go further, go make or find a symbol online or at a yard sale or in the back of a magazine at the barbershop. Once you’ve got your custom symbol, go back to the scroll bar and import it.  Now it is in your library of symbols for you to access.

The import symbols process is one way to drop a logo on the map, depending on file size.

These are the straight forward approaches to color-coding and symbolizing your imported data in Map Business Online. Now let’s clean up that drool.


Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

To access MapBusinessOnline, please register and then download the Map App from the website –

After installing the Map App, the MapBusinessOnline launch button will be in the Windows’ Start Menu or Mac Application folder. Find the MapBusinessOnline folder in the Start Menu scrollbar. Click the folder’s dropdown arrow and choose the MapBusinessOnline option.

The Map App includes the Map Viewer app for free non-subscriber map sharing.

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Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

About Geoffrey Ives

Geoffrey Ives lives and works in southwestern Maine. He grew up in Rockport, MA and graduated from Colby College. Located in Maine since 1986, Geoff joined DeLorme Publishing in the late 1990's and has since logged twenty-five years in the geospatial software industry. In addition to business mapping, he enjoys playing classical & jazz piano, gardening, and taking walks in the Maine mountains with his Yorkshire Terrier named Skye.
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One Response to How Do I Color-Code My Business Location Data?

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