Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Changing Cell Colors.

Changing Cell Colors

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 24, 2012)

Excel includes a tool that allows you to quickly change the color of a selected cell. The Fill Color tool (available on the Formatting toolbar) 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. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Patterns tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Patterns 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 (2757) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using Multiple Tables of Contents

Adding multiple tables of contents is a must for some types of document design. Here's a great overview of how you can add ...

Discover More

Selecting Noncontiguous Ranges with the Keyboard

It's easy to select non-contiguous ranges using the mouse, but may seem more daunting if you are simply using the keyboard. ...

Discover More

A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count

Word provides a tool that counts the number of words in a document. Here's an alternative method of calculating the a word ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Exporting Latitude and Longitude

A handy way to store latitude and longitude values in Excel is to treat them as regular time values. When it comes around to ...

Discover More

Adjusting Row Height for Your Text

Want Excel to automatically adjust the height of a worksheet row when it wraps text within the cell? It's easy to do, relying ...

Discover More

Formatted Dates Appear Differently on Different Systems

When you format a date in a specific manner, you may be surprised to see that the format changes when you open the workbook ...

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. 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 seven more than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon 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.