How to Create Multi-Colored Text in Microsoft Word

By Aaron Parson

When one color isn't enough, add more colors to text in Word, or create a gradient to flow several colors together.

Microsoft Word has long been able to display different selections of text in different colors. With Word 2010 and 2013, it can also place a color gradient across a selection, cutting down on the work needed to add multi-colored text and making it possible to have multiple colors on a single letter. With a custom-made gradient, text in Word can have as many colors as you want, even a complete rainbow.

Add Colors to Text

To change the color of text in Word, select the text you want to modify and pick a new color from the Font Color drop-down menu on the Home tab.

Click More Colors to pick from more color options.

Each selection of text retains its own coloring. After picking the color for one selection, select another block of text and pick another color. Other than the time it takes, there's nothing stopping you from assigning a different color to each word or even each letter.

To help speed the process of changing many colors, a small menu bar pops up on the page when you select text. Use the Font Color drop-down on this bar to save the time of moving your mouse back and forth to the main ribbon.

Pop-up font options

Add Gradients to Text

Basic Gradients

Start by selecting a base color for the text, and then reopen the Font Color drop-down and choose Gradient to pick a pattern. Patterns in the Light Variations section flow from the base color to white, while the Dark Variations move toward black. To use colors other than white or black, you need to create a custom gradient instead.

Gradient menu


  • Gradient patterns are fairly subtle, so you might need to use large text or zoom in to see a difference between patterns.
  • The pattern applies separately to each line of text. For example, if you pick a "From Center" style gradient, each line has its own center.

Custom Gradients

Click More Gradients from the gradient list to design your own pattern or add more colors. On the sidebar in Word 2013, or in the dialog box in Word 2010, select Gradient Fill and choose a type and direction for the pattern.

Some gradient types also offer the Angle option.

Each of the markers on the Gradient Stops line represents a point that you can modify. Drag them to reposition the stops and click one to set its color, position, transparency and brightness. To add additional stops, click the pencil icon with a green + sign. To remove the selected stop, click the icon with a red X.


To add stylized text to a document, insert WordArt. WordArt offers more patterns and styles than are possible with coloring and gradients alone, but WordArt also behaves like an image: it won't flow with the regular text in your document.

Adding colors normally limits you to at most one color per letter. With a gradient, you select a pattern made of as many colors as you want, and Word applies the pattern across your selection.