How to Fill an Excel Cell With Two Colors

Fill colors in Excel 2010 and 2013 usually fill each cell with a single solid color, no matter how large the cell in question. To add two background colors to one cell, use the Two Colors fill effect to create a gradient.


Looking to use two text colors for a cell's contents instead? Select the cell, press F2, select the individual characters you want to recolor and choose a font color.

Step 1: Format Cells

Select the cell you want to fill, right-click the cell and choose Format Cells.


Optionally, select multiple cells to fill with the same two-color gradient.

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step 2: Open Fill Effects

Open the Fill tab and click Fill Effects.

You can't combine a two-color effect with a pattern, so leave the Pattern Style blank.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step 3: Pick the Two Colors

Choose Two Colors, and then pick the two colors you want to use with the Color 1 and Color 2 selectors.

Click More Colors and then Custom for a full RGB color picker.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step 4: Pick a Style

Pick a shading style and choose one of the variants.

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft


  • Gradient colors apply separately to each cell, so some styles won't flow well when applied to several cells. Use a Horizontal style on multiple rows, for example, and the horizontal color bars repeat on each row. For a smooth gradient across cells, use Vertical for coloring multiple rows and Horizontal for coloring multiple columns.
  • Other styles, such as From Center, do not flow between cells at all, and so are best used for single-cell coloring.

Step 5: Apply the Colors

Click OK on both open windows to set the new fill colors.

A Vertical style applied across several rows and columns.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft


When you fill several cells, the colors cover up the spreadsheet's gridlines. To show lines atop the colors, select the colored cells, open the Borders drop-down menu and choose All Borders.