Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 28, 2020)


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 Office 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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What is two less than 5?

2020-06-21 03:54:44


in EXL2016 I have problem after adding cycling to QUICK:
caption stay gray ,no coloring -so as no action on click if I choose font or cell

2020-02-29 19:07:45

Allen G.

Once again, Allen, you have made me think and come up with a way to do thinks better than I was before. Turns out that duplicating the color cycle in VBA is pretty easy:

dim ColorCode as long
ColorCode = Wksht.Rng.Font.ColorIndex
If ColorCode = 56 then
ColorCode = 1
End if
ColorCode = ColorCode +1
Wksht.Rng.Font.ColorIndex = ColorCode

When called by a button, it will change the font color in the target range on each click. A simple modication of this code lets you cycle in the other direction. Much more user friendly than the work-around I've been using, although I will keep my original code in as a fall-back for users since it duplicates the "More Colors" option in Excel.

2020-02-29 16:58:24

Allen G.

Is there a way to accress this option through VBA? I have a workbook that allows users to change font colors in various places on protected worksheets through VBA. I don't allow user edit except under very controlled conditions in order to minimize potential erros and bad results. However, it's a trial-and-error kind of thing requiring the user to repeat the process if the color chosen ends up not being right when applied to the cell. Is there a way to call Cycle Font Colors with VBA?

2020-02-29 10:20:54

J. Woolley

@Mark B
You should have clicked "Quick Access Toolbar" in the left panel, not "Customize Ribbon".

2020-02-28 10:52:26

Mark B

The option was not available for me in All Commands. (I think I have 2016) I did find it in Commands Not In The Ribbon. Then I was forced to create a New Group on the right side before it would let me add it. But now it works and is very useful for me. Thanks!
(see Figure 1 below) (see Figure 2 below)

Figure 1. All Commands

Figure 2. Not in Ribbon

2015-06-29 03:10:11


Hello Allen,

Thanks for this tip, it is helpful. How do I cycle through chart colours? For example, I have a stacked bar chart and need to cycle through them. How do I do? Thanks for the help.


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