How to Change Cell Color in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Changing the cell color in Excel is a straightforward task that can make your spreadsheets more organized and visually appealing. By using the built-in formatting options, you can quickly alter the background color of any cell to emphasize important data or improve readability.

How to Change Cell Color in Excel

In the following steps, you’ll learn how to change the cell color in Excel. This will help you highlight important information, differentiate between data sets, and make your spreadsheets look more professional.

Step 1: Select the Cell or Range of Cells

First, select the cell or range of cells that you want to change the color of.

Click and drag your mouse over the cells you want to include, or simply click on a single cell if that’s all you need to format. Make sure to select only the cells you want to change.

Step 2: Open the Format Cells Menu

Next, right-click on the selected cells and choose "Format Cells" from the context menu.

The "Format Cells" option is found in the context menu that appears when you right-click. This menu contains several formatting options, but we’ll focus on cell color.

Step 3: Choose the Fill Tab

In the Format Cells dialog box, navigate to the "Fill" tab.

The "Fill" tab allows you to pick the background color for your cells. This tab provides a palette of colors that you can choose from.

Step 4: Select a Color

Click on a color from the palette or click "More Colors" to choose a custom color.

Selecting a color from the palette is quick and easy. If you need a specific shade, the "More Colors" option lets you fine-tune your choice.

Step 5: Apply the Color and Close

Finally, click "OK" to apply the color and close the dialog box.

Once you click "OK," the new color will be applied to the selected cells. If you’re not satisfied with the selection, you can repeat the process to choose a different color.

After completing these steps, the cells you’ve selected will display the new background color, making your data more visually distinct.

Tips for Changing Cell Color in Excel

  • Use contrasting colors to highlight important cells, making them stand out.
  • Stick to a consistent color scheme to maintain a professional look.
  • Utilize conditional formatting to change cell colors automatically based on cell values.
  • Experiment with different shades to find the best visual impact for your data.
  • Remember that less is often more; avoid overloading your spreadsheet with too many colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change the color of multiple non-adjacent cells?

Hold the Ctrl key while clicking on each cell you want to select, then follow the steps for changing the cell color.

Can I change cell colors based on a condition?

Yes, you can use conditional formatting to change cell colors based on specific conditions, like cell value or text content.

Are there any shortcuts for changing cell colors?

No direct shortcuts exist, but you can use the Format Painter tool to quickly apply the same formatting to multiple cells.

Can I use custom colors in Excel?

Yes, by selecting "More Colors" in the Fill tab, you can choose from a wider array of colors or even create your own custom color.

Will changing cell colors affect my formulas?

No, changing the color of a cell will not affect any formulas or calculations within that cell.


  1. Select the cell or range of cells.
  2. Open the Format Cells Menu.
  3. Choose the Fill Tab.
  4. Select a Color.
  5. Apply the Color and Close.


Changing cell color in Excel is a simple yet powerful tool to enhance the visual impact of your spreadsheets. Whether you’re highlighting key data points, organizing information, or simply making your document more aesthetically pleasing, knowing how to adjust cell colors is an essential skill. Experiment with different colors and combinations to find what works best for you, and don’t hesitate to use the tips and FAQs provided to refine your approach. Now that you know how to change cell color in Excel, go ahead and transform your spreadsheets into clear, colorful, and effective tools for your data management needs!

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