Separating Cells Based on Text Color

Thomas has a column that contains nothing but text values, such as sentences and phrases. Some cells show their text in red and the rest are in black. He would like a way to separate the text such that black-text cells remain in the column and red-text cells are moved to the next column.

There are a couple of ways you can approach this issue. Perhaps the easiest approach is to simply sort or filter the column that has the text values in it. Excel allows you to filter and sort based on text color, which means that either you could see just the red-text cells or put all the red-text cells into a contiguous range. Then it is an easy task to cut the red-text cells and paste them into the next column.

For instance, here’s how you would do the sort:

  1. Select the cells that contain your text values.
  2. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Sort tool in the Sort & Filter group. Excel displays the Sort dialog box.
  4. Using the Sort On drop-down list, choose Font Color.
  5. Use the Order drop-down list to indicate which color you want to be shown first in the sorted list. (This is where you would pick your red color. The drop-down list includes each color detected in the range you selected in step 1.)
  6. Click on OK.

Now your cells are sorted, by color, with the color specified in step 5 at the beginning of the cell range. You can easily copy it or move it to a different column. You could use the same general steps if you wanted to filter your text values based on font color.

If you prefer, you could also use a macro to move your red-text cells. Here’s an example that copies the cell value and font color one cell to the right.

Sub MoveRedText1()
    Dim c As Range

    If Selection.Columns.Count > 1 Then Exit Sub

    For Each c In Selection
        If c.Font.Color = vbRed Then
            c.Offset(0, 1) = c.Value
            c.Offset(0, 1).Font.Color = vbRed
            c.Font.Color = vbBlack
        End If
    Next c
End Sub

To use the macro, just select the cells you want to analyze and then run the macro. It doesn’t copy all formatting of the cells it is moving; if that is critical you can actually use a much simpler macro to do the moving.

Sub MoveRedText2()
    Dim c As Range

    For Each c In Selection
        If c.Font.Color = vbRed Then _
          c.Cut Destination:=c.Offset(0, 1)
    Next c
End Sub

If you use either of these macros and your red-text cells don’t move, it could be because the cells don’t actually use red text. There are many different shades of red that can be displayed in Excel, so you’ll need to tweak the macros to make sure that you are checking for the proper font color.