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 the Color of a Cell Border.

Changing the Color of a Cell Border

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 3, 2019)

You probably already know that Excel allows you to add borders to your cells. This is handy for separating different pieces of information within the same data table and for, well, just making your data look better.

You are not limited to black borders, however. You can specify different colors for your borders by following these steps:

  1. Select the cells whose border colors you want to change.
  2. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. In the Font group, click the down-arrow next to the Borders tool. You'll see a list of borders you can apply to the cell.
  4. Click the More Borders option at the bottom of the list. Excel displays the Border tab of the Format Cells dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Border tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  6. Using the Color drop-down list, specify a color you want to use for borders.
  7. Using the controls in the dialog box, specify the borders for the cell as you normally would.
  8. Click on OK.

Just as you can specify a different border type for each side of a cell, you can also specify a different border color for each side of the cell. Just make sure you pick the color you want used before you click on the side of the cell where you want that color used.

Another way you can change the border color is to use the border drawing tools Excel provides. Just display the Home tab of the ribbon and then click the down-arrow next to the Borders tool (in the Font group). Excel displays a whole bunch of choices for applying borders. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Drawing using a border color.

The option you are interested in is the Line Color option. Hover over it, and you'll see a palette of colors you can choose. Pick the color you want, and Excel kicks into border-drawing mode. (You can tell because the mouse pointer changes to a small pencil shape.) Move near the border you want, hold down the mouse button, and drag the mouse. The border is drawn on the cells as you specify. When you press Esc to exit border-drawing mode, any borders you subsequently apply (by whatever means) are applied in the same color you selected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8773) 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 the Color of a Cell Border.

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

Sorting or Filtering by Conditional Format Results

Conditional formatting is a great feature in Excel. Unfortunately, you can't sort or filter by the results of that ...

Discover More

Searching for Multi-Byte Hex Codes

Need to find a character for which you only know the hex code? There are a few ways you can search for the information, ...

Discover More

Opening a Template

If you have a template stored on disk, you can open it and make changes to it just as you do other documents. This tip ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Exporting Latitude and Longitude

A handy way to store latitude and longitude values in Excel is to treat them as regular time values. When it comes around ...

Discover More

Automatically Copying Formatting

It's easy to automatically set the contents of one cell to be equal to another cell. But what if you want to copy the ...

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
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 four minus 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.