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: Replacing Background Colors in Cells.

Replacing Background Colors in Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2019)

Jozef is looking for a way to change background colors of specific cells in the worksheet he created. For example, he would like to find all red background cells and change them to blue or find all yellow backgrounds and change them to blue. Jozef wonders if there is an easy way to do this.

It's fairly obvious that you can change the background colors of any cells manually, so there is no need to go into that option for making the changes. What you need to do is use a simple tool, such as the Find and Replace tool, to make the color changes. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Expand the dialog box by clicking the Options button. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Click the Format button at the right side of the Find What box. Excel displays the Find Format dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Fill tab is selected. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Fill tab of the Find Format dialog box.

  7. Use the controls in the dialog box to specify the background color you want to replace.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click the Format button at the right side of the Replace With box. Excel displays the Replace Format dialog box.
  10. Make sure the Fill tab is selected.
  11. Use the controls in the dialog box to specify the background color you used when changing the cells.
  12. Click OK.
  13. Click Replace All.

If you find yourself needing to make the same color changes over and over (for instance, always changing from red to blue), then you may be interested in using a macro to do the changes. The following example could be assigned to a shortcut key or added to the Quick Access Toolbar so you can use it quickly:

Sub ChangeColor()
    Dim rCell As Range
    If Selection.Cells.Count = 1 Then
        MsgBox "Select the range to be processed."
        Exit Sub
    End If
    For Each rCell In Selection
        If rCell.Interior.Color = RGB(255, 0, 0) Then  'red
            rCell.Interior.Color = RGB(0, 0, 255)      'blue
        End If
    Next rCell
End Sub

Note:

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 (9043) 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: Replacing Background Colors in 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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