How to Use Color in Spreadsheets

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The major spreadsheet software applications allow you to use color in your spreadsheets. These include, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office Excel, and Open Office Spreadsheet. The features to add color to the spreadsheet of your choice all work in a similar fashion. There are not many steps to add color within any given spreadsheet.

Open the spreadsheet file you are working on in Microsoft Excel. If you have not yet created a spreadsheet to work on, create a new one by navigating up to “File” and clicking on “New.” Then click “Spreadsheet.” Click on the area you want to add color to. Drag the mouse over the cells you want to add color to and let go when you are done. This will highlight the area you want to work with. This can be one cell or a combination of several depending on your needs. To select an entire row or column, click on the letter or number on the very top or very left of the screen, depending. This will highlight the whole row or column.

Click on the font box in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Depending on the version you use, you may need to click on the word “Edit” or “Home” options and then choose from the menu until you find the “Fill” option. You are looking to click on the “fill” icon, the one that has a paint bucket with paint coming out of it. Click on the icon or the fill option. This will display a color grid allowing you to choose from various colors to fill in. Click on the color you want to fill in the cells with. Repeat the steps as necessary to finishing filling the cells you want colored.

Open the spreadsheet you are working on in Open Office. If you need to open a new file in Open Office to work with, open the Open Office panel and click on the icon next to the “Spreadsheet” option. Click on the cells you want to add color in. Just like Microsoft Excel, you can either click and drag several cells or highlight an entire row or colum by clicking on the number to the left or the letter at the top. The Open Office application has the “fill” icon located in the third tool bar of the spreadsheet towards the right hand side.

Click on that to display a list of colors you can choose from. Fill the background of the cells by clicking on your color choices. Repeat the step to add more color in different places to your Open Office spreadsheet.

Open the spreadsheet in Microsoft Works that you are working on. If you don't have one to work on, create a new spreadsheet by opening up Microsoft Works and then clicking on Microsoft Works Spreadsheet. Highlight the cells you want to apply color in as in the steps above. Locate along the top of the spreadsheet menus, the word "Format" and click on it. Then choose "Shading." Another box opens up allowing you to choose the type of color you want, the color pattern and type. All three choices must be made before color will appear on the spreadsheet. Click "OK" and the color will appear on the spreadsheet.

Tips

  • You can also change the color of the font you use to type with. The same steps can be followed, only use the big letter “A” with a color bar underneath it. The big “A” with a color bar underneath it is the same in Microsoft Excel and Open Office. For Microsoft Works, choose "Format" then "Font" to repeat the coloring process. Clicking on these options will display the color box to choose a color from. Whatever color you choose will determine the color of the font.

Warnings

  • Save you work periodically as you go to avoid losing your work. If you save you work, you will not be able to use the “undo” function either with the mouse located in the “edit” menu or keyboard commands to undo any actions previous to that if you make a mistake.