Excel.Tips.Net ExcelTips (Menu Interface)

Changing AutoFilter Drop-Down Arrow Colors

Gus asked if there was a way to change the color of the drop-down arrows that appear at the top of each column when AutoFilter is turned on. When a filter is not applied to a column, the drop-down arrow is black; when a filter is applied, the drop-down arrow is navy blue. Gus wanted to change the colors because there isn't enough contrast between black and navy blue on his monitor.

Unfortunately, it appears that the color of the drop-down arrows is hard-coded into Excel and cannot be changed. You can try a workaround, if you desire, that would instead color the first cell in each of the filtered columns. Add the following macro to a regular module in the workbook:

Sub ColorDisplayFilter()
    Dim flt As Filter
    Dim iCol As Integer
    Dim lRow As Long

    iCol = 0
    lRow = ActiveSheet.AutoFilter.Range.Row
    Application.EnableEvents = False
    For Each flt In ActiveSheet.AutoFilter.Filters
        iCol = iCol + 1
        If flt.On Then
            Cells(lRow, iCol).Interior.Color = vbYellow
            Cells(lRow, iCol).Interior.ColorIndex = xlColorIndexNone
        End If
    Next flt
    Application.EnableEvents = True
End Sub

The code steps through the filters for a worksheet and, if the filter is active for a column, colors the first cell yellow. If the filter is not active, then it gets rid of the yellow color.

To trigger the routine so that it runs automatically, there are two things you need to do. First of all, you need to add the following macro to the thisWorkbook object:

Private Sub Workbook_SheetCalculate(ByVal Sh As Object)
    If Sh.AutoFilterMode Then ColorDisplayFilter
End Sub

This triggers every time the worksheet is calculated. If the AutoFilterMode property is True, then the coloring macro is executed.

The second thing you need to do is add a SUBTOTAL formula to your worksheet. Assuming that column A is one of the columns in the filter, you could add the following to the worksheet:


The SUBTOTAL function is recalculated every time a filter is changed, so this helps ensure that the coloring macro is executed. The formula can be hidden, if desired, but it must be on the worksheet that has the filter to ensure that the sheet triggers the event.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2371) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Related Tips:

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!


Leave your own comment:

  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

juzer    29 Aug 2016, 02:20
Hello Sir, can you please give me complete VBA code.. Thank You
Stephen    04 Feb 2015, 04:37
Changing AutoFilter Drop-Down Arrow Colors. Allen Wyatt Tip (2371)

How to change Allen's Tip "to color the first cell in each of the filtered columns" to be activated as well if the sort filter function is used but no data filtered?
Appreciating Thank you
Gilberto    18 Nov 2014, 07:03
Hello Allen,
I understand that the macro scans all the filtered columns, which in my case is not "recommendable".
Would it be possible to have a "formula", say in the cell above the heading row, that "flags" if that heading cell has a filter "active"? That way I could easily add a "Conditional formatting" rule for the heading cell to change color when the filter is active.
Thanks in advance

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us


Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites


Beauty and Style




DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)



Home Improvement

Money and Finances


Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives


Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.