Working with Colors in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 21, 2018)


Jerri is trying to reference rather simple colors in a macro. In older versions of Excel the color references were understandable, but she's having problems with colors since the introduction of themes. If she records a macro, she gets references to various properties, such as Pattern, PatternColorIndex, TintAndShade, PatternTintAndShade, and ThemeColor. Jerri can't make sense of these and wonders if there is a good reference available that provides the background information she needs to work with colors in a macro.

You aren't alone, Jerri. The new color schemes introduced in Excel 2007 seem to baffle many people. The simple approach to colors used in older versions of Excel is gone, and the new approach doesn't seem to have any humanly discernable rhyme or reason. Doing simple searches at Microsoft doesn't turn up any helpful information. For instance, a search of Microsoft online support for PatternTintAndShade (which should get right to the heart of the matter) returns nothing—and this is three years after Excel 2007 was released! A wider search for the same word, looking at all of, returns something only marginally more useful; it returns a page that describes the PatternTintAndShade property as a property that "returns or sets a tint and shade pattern." The reaction that comes to mind is "well, duh!"

In searching around the web there are lots of questions that crop up very similar to yours and precious few answers. There was one site that has a bit of useful information and is well worth reading:

Sorry about the long URL; you'll want to make sure you get it all. Perhaps, as time goes on, more information will come available.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7883) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007.

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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