Good color schemes for graphs/charts?

I’ve never been happy with the default Microsoft Office color schemes for graphs/charts, and have been trying to find resources on creating color schemes that are both attractive and clear. Does anyone have any tips or recommended books or websites?

Most of the color scheme resources I’ve found so far suggest color schemes of only 3 or 4 colors, but I’m looking for schemes of 5 or 6 colors. They need to look nice together without any two colors being too similar to one another. For charts I’ve made in the past I’ve sometimes used different shades of the same color (e.g. dark to light blue) or gone for a rainbow effect, but the former can be a little too bland and the latter a little too childish.

To be very clear here, I am NOT looking for general resources on color theory or color schemes. I’ve found plenty of these on my own. I’m specifically looking for information on color schemes that are good to use for graphs/charts.

My only recommendation would be based on what you’ve already said. Only use 3 or 4 colors, but then use shades of those colors to cover the rest. You avoid the rainbow effect while not being quite as bland.

My rule of thumb is, if you need something with software, it probably exists - as someone else has needed it as well.

A simple Google search for “Excel additional colors” turned up lots of options, but here is a link from MS that tells you how to add additional colors.

Not sure how much this will be, but I’ve found adding a grey and brown/tan can be helpful.

They are easy to recognize, you can usually find a shade to match the rest of the pallet, and they don’t make the graph as cluttered colorwise.

Also - if they overlap - playing around with the ordering (what is on top of what) can help make it easier to read as well.

I know how to change the color palate, what I don’t know is what I should change it to.

I have been having fun playing with the Color Scheme Designer 3 color wheel. It’s targeted more at color schemes for web design and doesn’t let you generate a scheme of more than four colors at once, but I’ve been using the three and four color options, checking the RGB values (using the Export option), and then moving the markers to get an additional 1-2 colors. To make a six color rainbow you can start with red (0 degrees), set the angle to 60 degrees, and work your way around the wheel. I’ve been experimenting with different angles and seeing how things look.

I am finding that there aren’t many six-color schemes that look equally good whether you use all six colors or just five, or on both bar and pie charts. (On a pie chart, the last color has to look good next to the first color.) I was hoping to find one color scheme I could use for most of my projects and not have to think about it anymore. It looks like I’ll have to set up a few different ones to use for different types of projects. DataX, I like the idea of using a neutral color to expand the palette.