by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 5, 2019)
Excel allows you to use a wide variety of colors in your worksheets. These colors are maintained in a palette, which you can see by choosing Tools | Options | Color tab. The palette contains up to 56 colors, 40 of which are "standard" colors (i.e., they are available from anywhere in Excel), and 16 of which are used for various purposes in charts.
You may have a need to define and use a custom color in Excel. For instance, your company may have a logo that uses a particular color, or you may just like to use a custom color for your own purposes. You can define custom colors by following these steps:
Figure 1. The Color tab of the Options dialog box.
Figure 2. The Standard tab of the Colors dialog box.
You can now use the color in your worksheet as you would normally use any other color.
You should note that the color you choose to replace or modify in step 3 is important. If you want your color to be available in most areas of Excel, you should choose a color from among the 40 colors categorized as "standard" palette colors on the Color tab of the Options dialog box. If you want to use the color in charts, then you should change one of the colors in the other parts of the palette. You may even want to define the color in each of the areas of the palette, so that you get the widest possible use of the color.
You should also note that the color palette is stored with the workbook. Thus, the changes you just made using the steps above will affect only the current workbook. If you want the palette to be available in other workbooks, you must copy the palette from one workbook to another, or make the changes within those workbooks, as well. You can copy the palette from one workbook to another by following these steps:
If you want the palette to be available for all future workbooks, you must make the changes to the palette and store them in the default workbook. (See other ExcelTips issues where the default workbook is discussed.)
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