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. ...

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