Tag Archives: excel

Colour Charting in Excel: the Mac OS X 2011 Version

I'm planning a Fair Isle sweater, and can't quite figure out which patterns or colours I want to use. Marnie Maclean has a great post about Using Excel to design colorwork, but when I tried to follow it with the Excel that comes with Office for Mac 2011, it didn't work. So here's my equivalent of what to do for the colours in Excel 2011. The rest of the tutorial she wrote still applies. The thumbnails below are all linked to bigger images. I made the screenshots with skitch, it's a great tool!

The main aim of what I'm doing is to set up the colour chart so that I can change the colours easily, so if I want to change all the light brown to light red, for example, it's easier than going through and clicking on each box or cell individually. To do this, set up styles for each colour box. First off, make sure you're on the Home toolbar, by clicking on the Home tab, and that you can see the tool bar. Click on the Home tab again if you can't see the toolbar.

Now click on a box, you should see the Normal style highlighted on the Format part of the toolbar. It's at the bottom of the highlight box in the picture.

Excel toolbar

If you click underneath that, you should see a down arrow. Click on that, and you'll get the formatting dialog box.

Formatting dialog box

Click on the "New Cell Style...". That brings up the next dialog box, where you can give the style a name (I just used a colour name to start with).
New Cell Style

The important thing we have to fix is the cell background colour, also called the Fill colour. Click on the format button, and you'll get a palette with lots of choices (and you can add your own, but that's a topic for another post).
Add Colour
Click OK and OK, and you should find the cell you clicked now has that colour as background.

Once you've set up one style for each colour you plan to use, you can chart the design by choosing that style for each cell that should be the same colour. To change the colour, ctrl-click the style name in the format toolbar, and choose "Modify" in the drop-down menu. This brings up the same formatting dialog box, so you can pick another colour. Then all the cells with that style will change to the new colour.