Changes in Excel’s Color System

Don has some complex worksheets that are in their present state after years of development. These worksheets use the classic 40-color palette for fonts, patterns, and borders. When Don opens the workbook in Excel 2007, he noticed right away that the program apparently doesn’t use the same colors used in previous versions of Excel and his original well-understood color-coding system is now a horrible mix of all sorts of colors. Don wonders if there a way around this, short of throwing out Excel 2007.

Don is not the only person to have this same question, and for good reason-Excel 2007 has, indeed, abandoned the older 40-color palette and replaced them with color themes. These themes cannot contain as many colors as the old palette, so if you used the old colors extensively, then you may be out of luck.

There is one workaround-you can still use the Format Painter to copy old-version colors to new cells in your worksheet. This means that you could open your legacy worksheet on an older system, copy all your colors to a series of cells in a new worksheet, and then use that worksheet as a “palette” in conjunction with the Format Painter to format your cells in Excel 2007.

This problem (and suggested workaround) is discussed in somewhat more detail at the following page by MVP Bob Umlas: