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: Showing RGB Colors in a Cell.

Showing RGB Colors in a Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 24, 2014)

Dennis wants to fill three cells (A1:A3) with RGB values and have another cell (C1) show the color based on those values. He wonders if there is an easy way to do this.

The easiest way to do this is to use a macro that grabs the values in A1:A3 and then modifies the color of cell C1 based on those values. Ideally, the macro should check to make sure that the values in the source cells are in the range of 0 through 255. The following macro works great for this purpose:

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    If Not Intersect(Target, Range("A1:A3")) Is Nothing Then
        lRed = Abs(Range("A1").Value) Mod 256
        lGreen = Abs(Range("A2").Value) Mod 256
        lBlue = Abs(Range("A3").Value) Mod 256

        Range("C1").Interior.Color = _
          RGB(lRed, lGreen, lBlue)
  End If
End Sub

Note that this macro should be added to the code for the worksheet on which the cells exist. (Just right-click the sheet tab and choose View Code, then add the macro there.) It is an event handler that is automatically run every time there is a change in cell A1, A2, or A3. The values in those cells are ensured to be between 0 and 255 by taking the absolute value of the cell contents and using the remainder (modulo) of dividing it by 256.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9090) 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: Showing RGB Colors in a Cell.

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. ...


Automatic Blank Pages at the End of a Section

If you want to have a blank page at the end of a document section, you can insert one manually or you can use the ...

Discover More

Generating a Table of Authorities

With the entries for your table of authorities marked throughout your document, you are ready to actually generate the ...

Discover More

Using the Magnifier

With high-resolution screens it can be a stretch, at times, to see some small detail on the Windows desktop. Fortunately, ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Item Not Available in Library

When sharing workbooks with others, you may find that the macros in those workbooks may not work as you expect. This tip ...

Discover More

Worksheet Events

You can create macros that are automatically executed whenever certain events occur within a worksheet. This tip details ...

Discover More

Creating a Directory in a Macro

One of the things you can do with macros is to work with disk files. As you do so, you may have a need to create a new ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 six more than 8?

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

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.