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

Changing Cell Colors

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 28, 2020)

3

Excel includes a tool that allows you to quickly change the color of a selected cell. The Fill Color tool (available on the Home tab of the ribbon) has a small bucket and color sample on it. This tool actually has two parts: If you click on the left part (the part with the small bucket and color sample), then the color shown in the sample is applied to the cells you have selected. Note that the color of the font doesn't change, only the color of the cell background.

If you click on the arrow at the right side of the tool, you will see a color palette appear. To select a color, click your mouse on one of the small color squares. This is applied to the cells you have selected and appears in the color sample on the Fill Color tool.

Another method of changing cell color is as follows:

  1. Select the cells whose color you want to change.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+F. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Fill tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Fill tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  5. Using the color palette in the dialog box, select a cell color.
  6. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10106) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing Cell Colors.

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 9 + 5?

2020-05-28 04:10:40

Ronald Jordan

I find coloring cells is more useful if done by conditional formatting using light cell colors and dark or black (automatic) font colors.


2016-05-11 09:12:32

Paul

Hi Allen,
Thanks for that but we really want is a macro that changes the colour fill/background of the cell say from yellow to green i.e. yellow for on second then green for one second. The option to choose different colours for cells would also be a great advantage.
The reason I would like this facility is so certain cells would really stand out on the screen.
If you could you explain how we can insert a .gif file the size of a typical cell that flashes from one colour to another in a similar fashion would also be good to know.

I have yet to learn how to make such a .gif but I have noticed some people have been able to put flashing or blinking arrows in emails. This all about drawing attention to certain notes or figures in a cell when viewed on screen.

I hope you can do this as I have wanted to be able to do this for years!


2016-05-10 13:17:54

Diane Wingle

Control+1 (one) works as well.


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