Custom Colour Tips For Excel

Do you use many colours in Excel?

I keep most of my Excel workbooks relatively colour free, except for a few headings or charts, or to mark cells for data entry. Usually, I use Excel’s standard colours, but sometimes I need something a little different. For example, if I’m building a workbook for a client, I might want to match their corporate colours.

Modify a Colour in Excel 2003

The colour options are hard to find in Excel 2003. To use a new custom colour to your workbook, you’ll have to modify one of the existing colours.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Color tab, click on one of the standard colours that you don’t plan to use in this workbook
  3. Click Modify, to open the Colors dialog box


Select a Colour in Excel 2007

In Excel 2007, you can use a Ribbon command to open the Color dialog box.

  1. On the Ribbon’s Home tab, click the arrow at the right of the Fill Color or Font Color button
  2. Click More Colors…

The Color Dialog Box

In both versions of Excel, the Colors dialog box looks the same.


Click on a colour in the Standard tab, or click the Custom tab for more choices.

Tip: To make it easier to see the colours, double-click the Colors title bar, and the dialog box will expand to fill the screen.


Select a Custom Colour

If my client provided colour information, I can enter the Red, Green and Blue numbers on the Custom tab, for an exact match. When I don’t need an exact match, I can move through the custom colour screen until I find something that looks appropriate for the workbook.

To move through the Custom Colors palette:

  • Click on a colour with the mouse pointer
  • Or, use the arrow keys to move up, down, left or right