Coloring Data in ParaView

Color Map Panel in ParaView
Color Map Panel in ParaView

Color Map Panel in ParaView
Color Map Panel in ParaView

If the Edit Color Map button is clicked in the Display tab in ParaView, the Color Scale Editor pop-up window will appear. This window has two tabs: Color Scale and Color Legend. The first tab of the Edit Color Map window allows the user to choose from several default color maps, to allow the user to import or export their own color map, or to allow the user to create their own color maps.

At the top of the Color Scale Editor window is the color map editor. This editor displays the mapping from the scalar values to color. It also allows the user to make changes to this mapping. Colors are mapping linearly between the colored spheres, or nodes. The user can add more nodes by left-clicking with the mouse. The selected node is slightly larger than a non-selected node. To delete a node, first select it and then press the d or delete key.

The ParaView Color Selector will open if the user left-clicks on a selected node. This will allow the user to change the color of the node by selecting a color from one of the Basic colors, or create one of their own custom colors using the color selector, HSV editor, or RGB editor.

The scalar value for a selected node can be changed by dragging the node either to the left (decreasing scalar value) or to the right (increasing scalar value). Alternately, the scalar value for a selected node can be changed by entering a value into the Selected Value entry box. The color of the node will not change when the scalar value is changed.

For datasets that are geometry (not volume rendered) the Opacity and Scale boxes are greyed out. To adjust the opacity of a geometric dataset, the user can adjust the Opacity spinner on the Display tab under the Object Inspector. For volume rendered datasets, the Opacity and Scale boxes will be visible.

  • The Color Space pull-down menu allows the user to select which color spaces to use. The color space choices are:
    • RGB
    • HSV
    • Wrapped HSV
    • CIELAB
  • The Component pull-down menu allows the user to select which component of a vector will be mapped by the color bar. By default, ParaView maps the color to the magnitude of the vector. The component choices are:
    • X
    • Y
    • Z
    • Magnitude
  • Preset color maps can be chosen by the Choose Preset button. The six choices for common color maps currently in ParaView are:
    • Blue to Red Rainbow
    • Red to Blue Rainbow
    • Greyscale
    • Black-Body Radiation
    • CEIlab Blue to Red
    • Cool to Warm
  • The Use Logarithmic Scale checkbox changes the color map to use the logarithmic scale, instead of a linear scale.
  • The Automatically Rescale to Fit Data Range checkbox allows the user to toggle on/off rescaling of the color bar to the data range. Sometimes a user may want to change the minimum or maximum value from the minimum/maximum in the data. For example, maybe a user wants the minimum value to map to 0.0 instead of 37.3531. Toggling this to off allows the user to change that minimum value.
  • The Use Discrete Colors checkbox allows the user to toggle on/off the use of discrete colors (from 2 to 256) or to have the color bar be continuous. If toggled on, the Resolution slider is enabled. The Resolution slider specifies the number of colors to use in the color map.

Color Legend

Color Legend in ParaView
Color Legend in ParaView

The Color Legend panel allows the user to show the Color Legend bar in the ParaView display window, to change its labeling, font style, and number format.

The Title section is used to change the text for the title of the scalar bar.

  • The font can be changed between Arial, Courier, and Times.
    • Bold font can be chosen with the B button.
    • Italic font can be chosen with the I button.
    • A drop-shadow font can be chosen with the S button.
  • The Color button changes the color of the text.
  • The Opacity changes the opacity of the text.


The Labels section uses syntax similar to C's printf. The default setting of "%-#6.3g" can be read as the following:

  • %g (Floating Point) with the following modifiers:
    • - - Allow for a leading negative sign
    • # - Use the "alternate form" of g, which is to always include a decimal point and leave trailing zeroes.
    • 6.3 - Six digits, three after the decimal.
  • The Font can be changed between Arial, Courier, and Times.
    • Bold font can be chosen with the B button.
    • Italic font can be chosen with the I button.
    • A drop-shadow font can be chosen with the S button.
  • The Color button changes the color of the text.
  • The Opacity changes the opacity of the text.

The Number of Labels changes the number of labels on the scalar color bar. By default, there are five labels.

ParaView Color Bars

Following are the different color bars which are available in ParaView.

Blue to Red Rainbow Colorbar in ParaView.
Blue to Red Rainbow Colorbar in ParaView.

Red to Blue Rainbow Colorbar in ParaView.
Red to Blue Rainbow Colorbar in ParaView.

Greyscale Colorbar in ParaView.
Greyscale Colorbar in ParaView.

Black-Body Radiation Colorbar in ParaView.
Black-Body Radiation Colorbar in ParaView.

CEIlab Blue to Red Colorbar in ParaView.
CEIlab Blue to Red Colorbar in ParaView.

Cool to Warm Colorbar in ParaView.
Cool to Warm Colorbar in ParaView.

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