You may already have plans to improve the current Color Palette, but I’ll make a few suggestions and comments.
Limiting the color palette to just a couple rows of standard colors is taking a step back, reminiscent of the Excel 2003 days.
The most useful aspect of the Google Sheets and Excel color palettes are the columns of colors which let you choose different luminosities.
Theme Colors: I prefer the way Excel works, not how Google Sheets does it. The reason is that Excel’s theme colors modify the entire column of colors in the palette. So, if you’ve been using the lighter or darker versions of a color, changing the theme color will change all of those variations. The implementation of themes in Google Sheets is sub par because it doesn’t do this.
For more detail about using themes, see the article Theme Enabled Templates
I’ve designed almost all of my templates to use the Accent 1 color in Excel. I’ve also created a beta version of an online tool that can help design a custom color palette:
I mention this tool (which is only a beta version right now) to point out two important things, which are represented in the graph and the sample table at the bottom of that color palette generator.
First, the set of Accent colors in Excel is what Excel users for the first colors of separate chart series. Second, when you are creating a table, it normally looks better to use a monochromatic color scheme.
So, my suggestion for spreadsheet.com is to
- Set up the color palette so that you have a row of theme colors that is compatible with Excel, meaning that if you import an Excel file, spreadsheet.com’s theme colors will use that workbook’s theme colors.
- Like Google Sheets and Excel, allow the user to select from a variety of shades for those colors.
- Come up with a default selection of theme colors to user for spreadsheet.com when you open a blank spreadsheet. Perhaps even a selection of the same colors used by Google Sheets.
- Include a grayscale row of colors.
The beauty of using theme colors like Excel is that you only need to actually define about 8 colors (keeping the colors for hyperlinks the standard blue/purple). You don’t need the same system as Excel for defining color themes, but perhaps you could let the user modify the theme colors by selecting the primary color and then using your existing controls to modify the color.
Google Sheets Color Palette:
Excel Color Palette: