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Color Brewer Addon

October 23 2010 | 6 comments

Is there a Color Brewer add on that makes using her color selection choices easier? My students like her color scales, but have to enter them as RGB values for each color in the scale. Am I missing an available add on that incorporates her schemes into the program more easily?

Mapping Center Answer:

Yes, there is a ColorBrewer add in that was developed by the National Cancer Institute.

You can download the tool from:

Once you follow the installation steps, you will be able to access the tool by clicking on a Color Tool button in ArcMap.

The interface of the Color Tool allows you to select which feature class you want to classify, the field you want to use to classify the data, the classification method, what type of classification (sequential, qualitative, diverging), as well as the ability to select which ColorBrewer ramp you want to use.

When you click Apply, the map is updated to reflect your selections.

This is a great tool and you don't have to type in all of the RGB values!


Unable to get ColorTool2.0 to work in ArcGIS 10 posted by Craig Poynter on Oct 25 2010 2:58PM
I haven't been able to get this to run in ArcGIS 10. I have .Net 1.1, but when making a new custom tool/menu, NGIS items aren't listed.
ColorTool not supported in ArcGIS 10 posted by Mamata Akella on Oct 25 2010 3:10PM
Yes, you are right. Currently, the ColorTool is not supported in ArcGIS 10. Since this is something that was developed by the National Cancer Institute, we cannot say when there will be a version that is compatible with ArcGIS 10.

On NCI's website, there is a link to email with questions about the ColorTool. They might be able to tell you if and when the ColorTool will be updated.
ColorBrewer and ArcGIS 10.1 posted by Steven Romalewski on Feb 6 2013 7:58AM
I have two questions related to ColorBrewer. One is that I've copied the file from into my Styles folder with ArcGIS Desktop 10.1. But the styles don't show up. It worked fine with 10.0. Did something change, or do I need to do something different to get the styles to appear in 10.1?

Second question is more basic: when will ESRI include the Colorbrewer styles as default styles in ArcGIS Desktop. The color ramps that have been shipped with ArcGIS for years are, well, terrible. I never use them. I tell my students not to use them. Now that there's been a vastly superior set of styles available for a couple of years (Colorbrewer), it seems crazy to me to force us all to manually edit RGB values one at a time in order to make use of Colorbrewer's hands-down better color choices. When will ESRI help us out on this front?
They do work posted by Aileen Buckley on Feb 6 2013 9:14AM
I just downloaded the style and used it in ArcGIS 10.1, so I am not quite sure why you are having a problem -- you will have to contact our Technical Support team to help you with this as I cannot reproduce your problem.

The Esri color ramps are actually based on ColorBrewer colors. Note that the color ramps in the style are not actually created a a continuous range of colors, which is how we created all our color ramps. This allows any color ramp to be used with a range of classes. The color ramps in the downloaded style must be used with the correct set of colors, if they are to be used properly. This, of course, increases the number of symbols you have to look through to find the one you want, and it gives the user a greater opportunity to select a color ramp that does not have an appropriate range of colors (f the correct ramp is not selected). Therefore, while our color ramps are based on ColorBrewer colors, they have been modified to be used more robustly and with more versatility and with our software. In my opinion, it is entirely safe to advise people to use the color ramps in the software, especially if they are not s used to working with or want to work with more complex symbology.
Color Brewer not working in 10.1 posted by Ernest Dunwoody on Jul 12 2013 10:06PM
You comment that "just downloaded the style and used it in ArcGIS 10.1, so I am not quite sure why you are having a problem "
Is this refering to Color Brewer or something else. Don't know what your "style" refers to.
I have down loaded Color Brewer amd installed it.
But I sure can not get it to Add-in to my ArcMap (Info level) 10.1.
Wasted a lot of time trying to get it connected.
After Adding NCI GIS from file the Commands Tab under Customise won't recognise it, so I can't drag and drop in onto the the new tool I named ColorBrewer.
Would appreciate any help anyone has to offer.

Thank you.
Color Brewer Color Ramps Style Set posted by bailey hanson on Jul 16 2013 11:53AM
Thanks to these posts I was able to get the Color Brewer color ramp style into ArcGIS 10.1. These are the steps I took:
1)Browse to
2)Click Download, agree to terms, click download
3)The file will download, open the downloaded file
4)Extract the file to an appropriate location
5)Open ArcMap, Customize > Style Manager...
6)Click Styles...
7)Click Add Style to List
8)Browse to, Open, Ok, Close

The Color Brewer ramps should now show up when you go to symbolize your data

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