How to Fill an Excel Cell With Two Colors

By Aaron Parson

Each cell in your spreadsheet usually has a single color, but by adding a gradient, you can use two colors in one cell.

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

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Pick a shading style and choose one of the variants.

Picking a style and variant


  • Gradient colors apply separately to each cell, so some styles won't flow well when applied to several cells. Use a Horizontal style on multiplerows, 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

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

A Vertical style applied across several rows and columns.


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.