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: Changing Cell Patterns.

Changing Cell Patterns

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 21, 2021)

1

Excel allows you to easily change the background pattern used in the cell. In the early days of spreadsheets, patterns were the only way you had to differentiate one cell from another. To change cell patterns, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells whose background patterns you want to change.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Format tool in the Cells group, and then click Format Cells. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Fill tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Fill tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. Use the Pattern Color drop-down list to select the color you want used for the pattern.
  7. Use the Pattern Style drop-down list to select any of the available patterns.
  8. Click on OK.

You should note that any pattern you select appears in the background of the cell, meaning that it appears behind any information contained within the cell. Thus, by creatively combining patterns, pattern colors, and other formatting options, you can create many, many different special effects.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6286) 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: Changing Cell Patterns.

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

Understanding Shortcuts

One way of optimizing your user interface is through the use of shortcuts. This tip provides a brief overview of what ...

Discover More

Ensuring Proper Page Numbers for a Table of Authorities

Automatically create a Table of Authorities entry in your document, and Word might place the necessary field at the wrong ...

Discover More

Adding Hyphenated Words to the Dictionary

When you hyphenate words, does the resulting compound word end up being marked as incorrectly spelled? This tip examines ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Displaying Negative Times

Excel allows you to perform math using times as operands. If you subtract a later time from an earlier time, you should ...

Discover More

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

When your macro checks the formatting used for a cell, it needs to be careful that the type of formatting being checked ...

Discover More

Filling a Cell

One way you can format a cell is so that its contents are repeated over and over again for the entire width of the cell. ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 two minus 2?

2020-05-12 21:29:51

Kevin

Is there a way to change or add the patterns? For example, I'd like to have a wider striped pattern so it's easier to differentiate between the two colors.


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.