Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Showing RGB Colors in a Cell.

Showing RGB Colors in a Cell

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 4, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Dennis wants to fill three cells (A1:A3) with RGB values and have another cell (C1) show the color based on those values. He wonders if there is an easy way to do this.

The easiest way to do this is to use a macro that grabs the values in A1:A3 and then modifies the color of cell C1 based on those values. Ideally, the macro should check to make sure that the values in the source cells are in the range of 0 through 255. The following macro works great for this purpose:

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    If Not Intersect(Target, Range("A1:A3")) Is Nothing Then
        lRed = Abs(Range("A1").Value) Mod 256
        lGreen = Abs(Range("A2").Value) Mod 256
        lBlue = Abs(Range("A3").Value) Mod 256

        Range("C1").Interior.Color = RGB(lRed, lGreen, lBlue)
    End If
End Sub

Note that this macro should be added to the code for the worksheet on which the cells exist. (Just right-click the sheet tab and choose View Code, then add the macro there.) It is an event handler that is automatically run every time there is a change in cell A1, A2, or A3. The values in those cells are ensured to be between 0 and 255 by taking the absolute value of the cell contents and using the remainder (modulo) of dividing it by 256.

The macro only works when you manually change a value in the range of A1:A3 (your RGB values). If the values in that range are the result of formulas, then it won't work properly because you aren't manually changing the cells. In that case, you should use this simpler modification of the macro:

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    lRed = Abs(Range("A1").Value) Mod 256
    lGreen = Abs(Range("A2").Value) Mod 256
    lBlue = Abs(Range("A3").Value) Mod 256

    Range("C1").Interior.Color = RGB(lRed, lGreen, lBlue)
End Sub

This version updates the color anytime something is changed in the worksheet, regardless of where the change occurs.


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 (9092) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Showing RGB Colors in a Cell.

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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What is one more than 7?

2024-07-09 08:09:25


@J. Woolley

I've done as you suggested and posted my comment on your website. Thanks.

2024-07-08 09:13:00

J. Woolley

Thank you for your interest. Please post questions about My Excel Toolbox here:

2024-07-08 02:48:41


@J. Woolley,

I've been going thru the documentation file and already found a few gems that I might start using often!
THANK YOU once again for sharing this. :-)

Just wanted to ask whether there is any feature in the add-in which lists all the keyboard shortcuts assigned to various macros in my Personal.xlsb and other open files ?
That would be really, really useful to me, because I have run out of keyboard shortcuts to assign for any new macros that I might need to use frequently!

As of now, I have to assign such macros to a button on the QAT.

2024-07-06 04:37:24


@J. Woolley... Many thanks for sharing your collection. Will surely go thru it over the next few days. :-)

2024-07-05 18:30:33

J. Woolley

The AboutColors macro in My Excel Toolbox creates a worksheet illustrating all colors defined by Excel: Current Palette, Default Palette, Theme Color, Standard Color, vbColor, vbSystemColor, and xlRgbColor. (see Figure 1 below)
The following Public Functions are included in My Excel Toolbox, where ColorRGB is equivalent to RGB Long:
    =FillColor([Cell]) -- returns Cell's fill ColorRGB
    =FontColor([Cell]) -- returns Cell's font ColorRGB
    =SetFill([Color], [PatternStyle], [PatternColor], [Target])
    =SetFont([Name], [Size], [Style], [Color], [Underline], ..., [Target])
    =ChooseColor_Dialog(DefaultColor, CustomColors())

Figure 1. 

2024-07-05 07:12:13


Hi Barry, thanks for the code you shared.

I couldn't get it to work, but after posting my comment yesterday, I tried using Copilot to generate the code for me, and it came up with this UDF.
This gives the R, G, B values as comma separated values in a single cell. Hope you find it useful. :-)

Function GetRGB(rng As Range) As String
Dim R As Long, G As Long, B As Long
R = rng.Interior.Color Mod 256
G = (rng.Interior.Color \ 256) Mod 256
B = rng.Interior.Color \ 65536
GetRGB = R & ", " & G & ", " & B
End Function

2024-07-05 05:50:30


Hi KV,
The following works but there may be a more robust way to do this!!!

Sub RGBColours() ''Return RGB values

Dim R As Long, G As Long, B As Long, FillColour As Long

FillColour = Cells(1, 3).Interior.Color
R = FillColour Mod 256
G = FillColour \ 256 Mod 256
B = FillColour \ 65536 Mod 256

Cells(1, 1) = "R " & R
Cells(2, 1) = "G " & G
Cells(3, 1) = "B " & B

End Sub

2024-07-04 08:55:49


Very interesting macro Allen! Thanks for sharing it.

I have a follow-up question.

Given that cell C1 is shaded with a certain background, is it possible to populate A1, A2 and A3 with the respective RGB values of cell C1?


2020-10-27 10:34:07


Hi, thanks for the code for the coloring of cells acording to rgb values. Is there also a way you can put that in a for loop to fill multiple rows at once. Counting the rows always +1 after each loop. Thank you in advance.

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