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

Document Size Changes

When you last upgraded Word, did you notice a change in the size of your document files?

Discover More

Finding the First Non-Digit in a Text Value

If you have a string of text that is composed of digits and non-digits, you may want to know where the digits stop and the ...

Discover More

Searching for Periods Not Followed by a Space

Most periods should be followed by at least one space. What if you think there may be some errors in how your post-period ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Retaining Formatting After a Paste Multiply

You can use the Paste Special feature in Excel to multiple the values in a range of cells. If you don't want Excel to mess up ...

Discover More

Shortcut Key for Format Painter

The Format Painter is great for copying formatting from one cell to another. If you don't want to grab the mouse to use the ...

Discover More

Adding a Custom Format to those Offered by Excel

Adding a custom format to Excel is easy. Having that custom format appear in all your workbooks is a different story ...

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 for this tip:

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share