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 January 25, 2020)

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

Setting Maximum Line Lengths in Word E-mail Messages

When you use Word as your e-mail editor, it allows you to format the text of your e-mail messages using tools you are ...

Discover More

Grouping Records in a Mail Merge

Need to group records in some manner when they are used in a mail merge? It can be frustrating when your records are not ...

Discover More

Changing the Lock Screen's Background Picture

Don't like the picture you first see when you look at your computer? Windows makes it easy to change the Lock Screen ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Understanding Monospace Fonts

Information in a worksheet needs to be displayed using fonts. If you understand the two different types of fonts ...

Discover More

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

When your macro checks the formatting used for a cell, it needs to be careful that the type of formatting being checked ...

Discover More

Better Use of Heading Space

If your column headings are too large to work well in your worksheet, why not turn them a bit? Here's how.

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 seven more than 6?

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.