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: Showing RGB Colors in a Cell.

Showing RGB Colors in a Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 2, 2020)

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.

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 (9092) 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: 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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