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    How to Enter Your Custom Color Codes in Microsoft Excel

    Updated on: Sep 26th, 2017
    Data Visualization in Excel
    , , , , , ,

    If you want to look polished, then you have no other choice but to customize your visualization’s color palette. Don’t worry–customizing your colors is an easy low-hanging-fruit edit. Locate your style guide, scroll down to the color section, and decode the jargon. If you don’t have a style guide, or can’t find it, identify your color codes with an eyedropper or with Paint.

    Then, enter your color codes in Excel!

    Step 1: Make Your Chart

    Build your graph. Here’s a histogram that displays how many people fell into each age range. The default graph has Microsoft’s blue.

    If you want to look polished, then you have no other choice but to customize your visualization's color palette. Don't worry--customizing your colors is an easy low-hanging-fruit edit. Locate your style guide, scroll down to the color section, and decode the jargon. If you don’t have a style guide, or can’t find it, identify your color codes with an eyedropper or with Paint. Then, enter your color codes in Excel! Build your graph. Here’s a histogram that displays how many people fell into each age range. The default graph has Microsoft’s blue.

    Step 2: Edit Your Chart as Needed

    Declutter that cluttered graph. Delete the border, grid lines, title, and vertical axis. Label the columns directly. Nudge the columns closer together.

    Declutter that cluttered graph. Delete the border, grid lines, title, and vertical axis. Label the columns directly. Nudge the columns closer together.

    Step 3: Select Your Chart

    Now it’s time to customize the color. Click on the bar, line, or pie wedge that you want to adjust. Can you see that the columns are selected?

    Now it’s time to customize the color. Click on the bar, line, or pie wedge that you want to adjust. Can you see that the columns are selected?

    Step 4: Click on More Fill Colors

    Go to Chart Tools, then Format, and then Shape Outline (line graphs) or Shape Fill (all other types of graphs, like this one). Ignore the default colors! Go to the bottom where it says More Fill Colors.

    Go to Chart Tools, then Format, and then Shape Outline (line graphs) or Shape Fill (all other types of graphs, like this one). Ignore the default colors! Go to the bottom where it says More Fill Colors.

    Step 5: Choose a Custom Fill

    On the pop-up window, click on the Custom tab.

    On the pop-up window, click on the Custom tab.

    Step 6: Type Your RGB Codes

    Enter your RGB code. RGB stands for red, green, and blue. This is the recipe of reds, greens, and blues that get mixed together to produce your exact shade.

    Enter your RGB code. RGB stands for red, green, and blue. This is the recipe of reds, greens, and blues that get mixed together to produce your exact shade.

    I used 120, 29, 125, which is the exact shade of purple from a client’s logo. Now I can quickly customize other pieces of the graph, like the numeric labels, because that purple is already stored under Recent Colors.

    I used 120, 29, 125, which is the exact shade of purple from a client's logo.

    Bonus

    With just a few clicks, custom colors reinforce branding and make you look professional.


    Purchase the histogram template ($5)

    More about Ann K. Emery
    Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.

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