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.

Tip

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.

Tip

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

Tip

  • 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

Tip

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.

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