Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 the Color Used to Denote Selected Cells.

Changing the Color Used to Denote Selected Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 25, 2017)

3

Whenever you select a range of cells to enter data, the active cell is white and all the other cells in the range are a contrasting color. As you enter data and then press the Enter key, that cell becomes the contrasting color and the next cell becomes the active cell and is white. You may wonder how to change the contrasting color to make the selected range stand out more.

The colors used by Excel when you select items are controlled not by Excel, but by Windows. You can change the selection color, but you should understand that when you do so it may affect other programs besides just Excel. The exact steps you follow depend on your version of Windows. If you are using Windows 7, follow these steps:

  1. Get out of Excel.
  2. Right-click anywhere in your Windows desktop. (Make sure you right-click on the desktop itself, not on any of the objects on the desktop.) Windows presents a Context menu.
  3. Choose Personalize from the Context menu. Windows displays the Personalization options.
  4. Click the Window Color link.
  5. Click the Advanced Appearance Settings link. Windows displays the Window Color and Appearance dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Window Color and Appearance dialog box.

  7. Using the Item drop-down list, choose the Selected Items option.
  8. Using the Color 1 drop-down list, choose the color you want Windows to use when you select items.
  9. Click OK to close the Window Color and Appearance dialog box.
  10. Click Save Changes to save your color changes.
  11. Close the Control Panel window.

If you are using Vista, follow these steps instead:

  1. Get out of Excel.
  2. Right-click anywhere in your Windows desktop. (Make sure you right-click on the desktop itself, not on any of the objects on the desktop.) Windows presents a Context menu.
  3. Choose Personalize from the Context menu. Windows displays the Personalization dialog box.
  4. Click Window Color and Appearance.
  5. Click the Open Classic Appearance Properties for More Color Options link. Windows displays the Appearance Settings dialog box.
  6. Click the Advanced button. Windows displays the Advanced Appearance dialog box.
  7. Using the Item drop-down list, choose the Selected Items option.
  8. Using the Color 1 drop-down list, choose the color you want Windows to use when you select items.
  9. Click OK to close the Advanced Appearance dialog box.
  10. Click OK to close the Appearance Settings dialog box.
  11. Close the Control Panel window.

Finally, if you are using Windows XP, follow these steps:

  1. Get out of Excel.
  2. Right-click anywhere in your Windows desktop. (Make sure you right-click on the desktop itself, not on any of the objects on the desktop.) Windows presents a Context menu.
  3. Choose Properties from the Context menu. Windows displays the Display Properties dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Appearance tab is selected.
  5. Click the Advanced button. Windows displays the Advanced Appearance dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Advanced Appearance dialog box.

  7. Using the Item drop-down list, choose the Selected Items option.
  8. Using the Color 1 drop-down list, choose the color you want Windows to use when you select items.
  9. Click OK to close the Advanced Appearance dialog box.
  10. Click OK to close the Display Properties dialog box.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8265) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing the Color Used to Denote Selected Cells.

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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Comments

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What is eight more than 6?

2018-04-30 08:15:28

Em

Instructions have no do not work selections are still grey (see Figure 1 below) - effects the rest of the PC selections though (see Figure 2 below) . Anyone know of a solution that works for excel?


Figure 1. grey in excel


Figure 2. not grey out of excel




2018-04-22 23:34:00

Chuck Trese

Hi John,
When you click "Add new location" button,....... in the resulting dialog window, .......
there is an optional checkbox for "Subfolders of this location are also trusted"


2018-04-21 10:31:46

John

When adding a new trusted location does it cascade down or do you need to also add each sub-folder?


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