Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Cycling through Colors.

Cycling through Colors

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 2, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Excel provides a tool you can use to cycle through the available font colors. The tool is not available by default, but must be added by following these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Customize option (Excel 2007) or Quick Access Toolbar option (Excel 2010 or later versions) at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar.

  4. In the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose All Commands.
  5. In the list of commands, click once on Cycle Font Colors.
  6. Click the Add button. The command is copied to the right side of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK. The Cycle Font Colors tool is now on the Quick Access Toolbar.

Now, whenever you click on the Cycle Font Color tool, the font color in the selected cells will change. Click again, and the color changes again. Keep clicking, and eventually the font colors repeat.

If you cannot locate the Cycle Font Colors command in step 4, try using the Choose Command From drop-down list (step 3) to choose Commands Not In the Ribbon. For some odd reason, in some versions of Excel Microsoft made the command available in that group, but not in the All Commands group. Go figure!

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6130) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Cycling through Colors.

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. ...

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