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Microsoft Office 2007

Using Color in Excel and PowerPoint

Excel and PowerPoint provide a number of common colors for quick access from the FILL buttons on the Ribbon. If you prefer to use a different color or a customized color, you may use the Colors dialog box. Most objects can have color applied to their interior, border, or both.

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Accessing Color and Fill Options

Most objects that can be colored will provide you with the same options for adding color or fill effects. However, you will need to access these options differently based on the object that you are altering. For example, to change the appearance of text you would click the TEXT FILL or TEXT COLOR buttons, or to change the appearance of a shape, use the SHAPE FILL button.

There are numerous ways to access color and fill effect options. Basic colors, as well as some basic gradients and textures, are available from palettes accessed from the Ribbon. If you prefer more options, these palettes allow you to open dialog boxes to select a custom effect. Additional fill effects are available through the Format dialog box for each object.

To access basic palette options:

  1. Select the object to modify

  2. From the Format tab, click the appropriate FILL button (e.g., TEXT FILL, SHAPE FILL)
    NOTE: Not all objects provide the same fill options.
    A color palette and menu of additional options appears.
    HINTS:
    From the palette and menu that appears, if you do not see an option for the fill effect you are interested in, it is probably unavailable for this object.
    You may need to navigate through the menus to find the desired fill effect.

To open the Colors dialog box:

  1. Select the object to modify

  2. From the Format tab, click the appropriate FILL button (e.g., TEXT FILL, SHAPE FILL) » select More Fill Colors...
    The Colors dialog box appears.

To open the Format dialog box:

  1. Select the object to modify

  2. Right click the object » select Format (Object)
    The Format (Object) dialog box appears.
    HINTS:
    If you would like to format text, be sure to select Format Text Effects... to format the text itself rather than the text box.
    The fill effects and color options are generally available with the Fill options.

return to topSelecting Standard Colors

Standard colors are available directly from the FILL buttons on the Ribbon. In most cases you can change the color of either the interior or the outline of the object. However, in some cases (e.g., lines and connectors) you can change the color of only the object's border.

To color the inside of the shape: 

  1. Select the object you want to alter

  2. From the Format tab, in the Shape Styles group, click SHAPE FILL » from the Theme Colors or Standard Colors section, select the appropriate color
    HINT: To preview what the object will look like with a specific color, hover your mouse over the color. The object will preview its appearance in that color.
    Shape Fill button and menu

To color the border of the shape: 

  1. Select the object you want to alter

  2. From the Format tab, in the Shape Styles group, click SHAPE OUTLINE » from the Theme Colors or Standard Colors section, select the appropriate color
    HINT: To preview what the object will look like with a specific color, hover your mouse over the color. The object will preview its appearance in that color.
    Shape Outline button and menu

return to topSelecting Additional Colors

  1. Select the object to modify

  2. Access the Colors dialog box
    The Colors dialog box appears.
    Colors dialog box: Standard tab

  3. Select the Standard tab

  4. From the hexagonal palette, select a color
    The selected color appears with a white hexagon outline and the color appears in the New section.

  5. If you are satisfied with that color, click OK

  6. OPTIONAL: To adjust the color's opacity, click and drag the Transparency scroll bar to the appropriate degree
    OR
    In the Transparency text box, type a value or use the nudge buttons
    NOTES:
    Changes in color due to transparency will not be previewed in the New section.
    When you adjust the Transparency, the color becomes less see-through as the value decreases, more see-through as the value increases.

return to topSelecting Custom Colors

Using the Custom Colors tab allows you to use custom colors. It allows for precise color selection when you type exact values of hue, saturation, lightness, red, green, and/or blue. 

  1. Select the object to modify

  2. Access the Colors dialog box
    The Colors dialog box appears.

  3. Select the Custom tab
    Colors dialog box: Custom tab

  1. From the Color Model pull-down list, select RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or HSL (Hue, Saturation, Lightness)
    The value text boxes change according to your choice.
    HINTS:
    Different color models may cause the selected color to appear slightly differently.
    RGB mode is more common and often used for photographs and Web publishing.
    HSL mode can allow colors to be more easily adjusted.

  2. From the color palette, click and hold the CROSS HAIR and move it to the desired color
    OR
    In the value text boxes, type the appropriate numbers
    EXAMPLE: If RGB was selected in the previous step, type the desired values of red, green, and blue to achieve the desired color.
    HINT: It is generally easier to drag the crosshairs to achieve the desired color, unless you already know the correct values for your color.

  3. OPTIONAL: From the color bar, click and hold the ARROW » move the arrow up or down, as appropriate, to choose a lighter or darker shade of the color

  4. When you are satisfied with your color, click OK

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