Returning a Value Based on Text Color

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 11, 2017)

Jose knows he can sort by color in Excel, but wonders if he can use the color of the text within a cell in a formula. For instance, the color of the contents of cell A1 is determined by conditional formatting. In another cell, he'd like to return -1 if A1 is shown in white, 2 if it is black, and 3 if it is blue.

When dealing with conditional formatting, detecting colors applied by the formatting rules can be troublesome. (In other words, it cannot be done reliably across differing versions of Excel.) In this case, it would be much easier to simply recreate, in the formula, the conditional formatting rule and return the values desired. In other words, use the same formulas you used in the conditional formatting rule to determine the value to be returned. You can, if necessary, combine multiple rules into a single formula by wrapping them within an IF statement.

You could even go a step further, if desired. For instance, let's say that you develop a formula that you use in the cells of column B. The formula returns -1, 2, or 3, based on whatever criteria you want to use. Once that formula is in place, you could modify the conditional formatting rules used in column A so that it adjusts text color based upon the values in column B. That way, you aren't dealing with having two sets of formulas for the two columns.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (43) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Formatting Footnote and Endnote References

Depending on whom you are writing for, you may want your footnote and endnote references to appear a specific way. Word ...

Discover More

Reviewing Document Versions

If you save different versions of your document using the versioning feature of Word, you'll want to know how you can go back ...

Discover More

Locating a Single-Occurrence Value in a Column

Given a range of cells containing values, you may have a need to find the first value in the range that is unique. This tip ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Conditionally Formatting Cells Containing Dates

Need to know if a particular cell contains a date value? Excel doesn't have a worksheet function to determine this ...

Discover More

Shading Rows with Conditional Formatting

If you need to shade alternating rows in a data table, you'll want to examine how you can accomplish the task with ...

Discover More

Applying Conditional Formatting to Multiple Worksheets

If you just updated your copy of Excel, you may have noticed some differences in how the program handles applying conditional ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.