Converting HSL to RGB

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 2, 2018)

1

Bassel needs a formula that can convert HSL color values (hue, saturation, and lightness values) to RGB color values (red, blue, and green values). He wonders if anyone can point him to either a worksheet formula that will do this or a way to do it in a macro.

Converting from HSL to RGB values is not a particularly trivial undertaking. For those interested in the math behind it, you can check out the Wikipedia article on the topic.

If you need to do the conversion infrequently, the easiest way is to follow these steps:

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the down-arrow at the right side of the Fill Color tool, in the Font group. Excel displays a small palette of colors and some other options.
  3. Choose More Colors. Excel displays the Colors dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Custom tab is displayed.
  5. Using the Color Model drop-down list, choose HSL. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Custom tab of the Colors dialog box.

  7. At the bottom of the dialog box you can see the individual values for Hue, Sat, and Lum. Change these values to whatever you want.
  8. Using the Color Model drop-down list, chose RGB. The values shown at the bottom of the dialog box are the HSL values (entered in step 6) converted to RGB.
  9. Click Cancel when done.

This approach assumes that each of your HSL values can be express in the range of 0 to 255. If, however, your HSL values are either an angle (for hue) or a percentage (for saturation and luminance), then you'll need to convert them manually before entering them in step 6. You can convert an angle value by multiplying the angle by 255 and then dividing by 360. Percentages can be converted by multiplying them by 2.55.

If you have a need to get the values more often, then creating your own user-defined function to do the conversion will help. The following example accepts three parameters (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance) and returns a string containing the decimal RGB values separated by commas.

Function HSLtoRGB(Hue As Integer, Saturation As Integer, _
  Luminance As Integer) As String
    Dim r As Integer
    Dim g As Integer
    Dim b As Integer
    Dim C As Double
    Dim X As Double
    Dim m As Double
    Dim rfrac As Double
    Dim gfrac As Double
    Dim bfrac As Double
    Dim hangle As Double
    Dim hfrac As Double
    Dim sfrac As Double
    Dim lfrac As Double

    If (Saturation = 0) Then
        r = 255
        g = 255
        b = 255
    Else
        lfrac = Luminance / 255
        hangle = Hue / 255 * 360
        sfrac = Saturation / 255
        C = (1 - Abs(2 * lfrac - 1)) * sfrac
        hfrac = hangle / 60
        hfrac = hfrac - Int(hfrac / 2) * 2 'fmod calc
        X = (1 - Abs(hfrac - 1)) * C
        m = lfrac - C / 2
        Select Case hangle
            Case Is < 60
                rfrac = C
                gfrac = X
                bfrac = 0
            Case Is < 120
                rfrac = X
                gfrac = C
                bfrac = 0
            Case Is < 180
                rfrac = 0
                gfrac = C
                bfrac = X
            Case Is < 240
                rfrac = 0
                gfrac = X
                bfrac = C
            Case Is < 300
                rfrac = X
                gfrac = 0
                bfrac = C
            Case Else
                rfrac = C
                gfrac = 0
                bfrac = X
        End Select
        r = Round((rfrac + m) * 255)
        g = Round((gfrac + m) * 255)
        b = Round((bfrac + m) * 255)
    End If
    HSLtoRGB = Str(r) & "," & Str(g) & "," & Str(b)
End Function

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13535) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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

Listing Documents with Passwords

Do you need a list of documents that require a password or that require a particular password to open? Word doesn't ...

Discover More

Changing Characters on Keyboard Keys

Want to assign some fancy characters to keyboard keys for characters you seldom use? There are a couple of ways you can ...

Discover More

Generating a List of Dates

When creating tracking documents in Word, you may need to come up with a series of dates in the document. You can type ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Digital Signatures for Macros

The security features built into Excel allow you to digitally sign your macros so that users can rest assured that they ...

Discover More

Selecting a Range of Cells Relative to the Current Cell

When processing information in a macro, you often need to select different cells relative to the currently selected ...

Discover More

Out of Memory Errors for Macros

Tracking down memory errors in a macro can be frustrating. The error message is inherently vague and correcting any ...

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 7 + 9?

2018-06-03 06:56:02

Mike

Since this article is really about excel, and using macros, and not about photography, it is possibly a little pedantic to take issue with the title, but my understanding is that 'lightness' and 'luminance' are not the same thing. A couple of links to explain the difference better than I can: https://fxhome.com/forum/discussion/3357/luminance-vs-lightness and https://forums.creativecow.net/docs/forums/post.php?forumid=2&postid=962220&univpostid=962220&pview=t


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.