Fill Color Doesn't Display

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 31, 2016)

28

Rick wrote about a problem he was having when viewing cells that have a fill color. It seems that the color doesn't show up on the display, but it does show up when he prints the worksheet.

This problem is most likely related to the settings in Windows, not in Excel. Follow these general steps:

  1. Display the Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the Accessibility Options applet. Windows displays the Accessibility Options dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Display tab is visible. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Display tab of the Accessibility Options dialog box.

  5. Clear the Use High Contrast check box.
  6. Click OK.

The fill colors should now be visible in the worksheet. They were "hidden" to make viewing data easier for those with certain types of visual limitations. This problem is detailed in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/833258

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3300) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

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Comments for this tip:

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What is 9 - 7?

2017-03-17 20:41:50

Stewart

Sorted, thanks.


2017-02-26 20:27:04

AJ

Awesome! You changed my life.


2016-12-25 10:15:07

Ashok Maheshwari

Thanks for your tip. The main point is to switch off the High contrast option..for windows 10 it's bit different


2016-09-22 15:50:01

vagabohn

This info appears not to work on Windows 10, any other idea's?


2016-09-12 07:44:30

Fleur (UK)

FILL COLOUR DOESN'T DISPLAY (EXCEL)
Thank you so much, this sorted out the problem. I had to attack it in a different way because I have more recent software than the description/screenshot you show.


2016-08-30 10:42:12

Lizzy

Problem solved !! Thank you !!


2016-07-10 13:18:37

Pete Lindner

The <alt> <left-shift> <print-screen> did NOT work. But then I found out that I had to enable that to work in my accessibility options:
A) go to accessibility options,
B) choose "set up high contrast",
C) click the box under "Choose a High Contrast Theme" that says "Turn on or off High Contrast when left ALT + left SHIFT + PRINT SCREEN is pressed.

And after it is applied, you can use "<alt> <left-shift> <print-screen>" to restore shading of yellow to Excel


2016-06-21 05:51:43

Lakshmikant Jugdar

Thank you SO much! I have been suffering with this problem for years! No one could figure it out.


2016-05-14 23:15:04

Ferdous

Hello Sir,
My Excel sheet has background color but when I convert it to pdf I find no background color in PDF. Is there any solution to solve that.

Thanks


2016-03-08 16:21:16

Sheila

Thank you SO much! I have been suffering with this problem for years! No one could figure it out. I reinstalled the software numerous times; I checked forums; I asked 'experts.' All with no results. I can't believe this is finally corrected!


2016-01-05 13:30:46

Heather Clegg

version 2007. Excel. All of a sudden it wont display or print red. When you go to the color selection, red is greyed out. It says "color scheme" instead of red. all the other colors work.

Thanks


2016-01-03 20:39:21

JIM

Hi Allen,

Great advise regarding my color/highlight issues. I have been limited for years and really need this feature to work for a particular Excel sheet. Thanks for your help.

Jim


2015-10-07 13:36:32

Steve

I have the same problem with office2013 requiring 2 clicks to do any fill color in a cell.

Does anyone have a solution to require only 1 click like previous versions of excel.


2015-10-07 13:32:35

Steve

Have you tried setting the Excel advanced -> print option to set "High quality mode for graphics"

See options, advanced menu


2015-09-18 10:30:27

Glen Campey

I've been having this problem this afternoon, and it wasn't to do with Windows settings (I could still see the colours everywhere else). If you're having the same issue, try checking that you hadn't set up the cells in question with 'no fill' - this will override any conditional formatting fill rules that you try.

I'm kicking myself that it was this simple...


2015-05-20 12:05:32

Mark

The solution from
Deena 04 Nov 2014, 18:30
worked for me. The high contrast theme did not allow font colors of cell fills to be seen in Excel


2015-05-16 07:53:08

Nancy

Thanks, Deena, for the detailed steps. They worked for me!


2015-04-20 09:17:25

Lj

With windows 7 turning it off in control panel didn't work but the
LEFT Alt/Shift/Prt Screen worked for me.


2015-04-02 11:45:33

Larry Handeland

I have the same problem with Excel Cell colors not showing up in my display, even after I turned off Hi-contrast. Everything prints ok with color in the cells. I have windows 8.1 and am running Excel 2010. Thanks.


2015-04-01 06:14:12

danniel

Thanks, you cure my suffer of weeks.


2015-02-22 15:42:11

Larry

On my Windows 8.1, Bayhill's suggestion "PRESS "ALT" + "SHIFT" + "PRSCN" " works but that essentially just turns off any high contrast theme, same as selecting 'none' in the "Ease of Access" High Contrast settings. Thanks for this. But Shame on Microsoft for not allowing Office to work with a high contrast theme and not telling us.


2014-12-26 23:46:33

am

Thanks Deena


2014-11-04 18:30:23

Deena

I have worked on this for days. Finally this worked for me:
Do thus:

1. Go to: Ease of Access Center (for accessibility options) Note 1
2. LEFT Alt/Shift/Prt Screen
3. Click on 'Choose a High Contrast Theme' (line no. 4)
4. Click on Windows 7
5. Scroll down to 'Windows Classic"
6. Click on APPLY/OK and exit/close/X Ease of Access Center

Note 1: Click START; in bottom, blank box type in .... Ease of Access Center


2014-11-02 07:52:36

Puja

It was helpful. thanx :)


2014-08-30 14:27:27

BAYHILL@COX.NET

REGARDING TURNING OFF THE HIGH CONTRAST. IN WINDOWS 8, I TRIED THAT, DIDN'T WORK. IT SAYS UNCHECKING THE BOX TURNS OF THE KEY COMMAND, NOT THE HIGH CONTRAST. IN WIN 8, MAYBE OTHERS, LEAVE IT CHECKED, JUST GO TO THE WORKBOOK, HI LIGHT THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF THE FILE, PRESS "ALT" + "SHIFT" + "PRSCN" (OR "PRINT SCREEN" DEPENDING ON YOUR KEY BOARD.
THAT WORKED FOR ME. THEN, THERE WERE ALL KINDS OF COLORS SINCE I HAD BEEN TRYING TO GET FILL TO WORK IN MANY DIFFERENT BOXES. SELECT ALL, GO TO FILL, "NO FILL", ALL FILL COLORS SHOULD DISAPPEAR, SAVE, DO WHAT YOU NEED.


2014-06-11 09:08:28

Kerry

When I select cells and try to fill them with a colour, they do not change colour on screen until I have pressed the 'fill' box at least twice, sometimes more. Is this an excel settings/ windows 8 setting or possibly a fault with Office 2013?


2014-03-18 11:59:19

Alejandro Ortiz

Excel Cell colors don't show up in my display, even after I turned off Hi-contrast. Also, I checked that there are no conditional formatting rules present. I have windows 8. Thanks.


2013-07-21 12:49:04

Francois Erling

Thank you very much! It was most helpfull, chapeau!


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