Excel: Learn Excel from MrExcel # 907 - 2007 Highlighted Sheets


One of the annoying things about Excel 2007 is that the color for selected sheets and cells is almost identical to the color for unselected sheets and cells....

Transcript of the video:

Hey, welcome back to the MrExcel netcast, I'm Bill Jelen. Today's idea comes from Harry. Harry is a student at Culver-Stockton College in Kent, Missouri. I was invited out to do a seminar this past Saturday there, in Missouri, and I was doing the class in Excel 2007 because most of the students had Excel 2007. And when I talked about group mode, I was mentioning how frustrated I was with the way that they highlight things in Excel 2007.

Let's look down here at the bottom of the screen. You can see the January, February, March, are in the group mode; April, May, and June are not. And my complaint with Microsoft is that they make those colors almost identical. Same thing where if you have data that's selected. Let's look up here-- the difference between A3, which is not in the selection, and C3, which is in the selection, is almost identical. And it's not like it was in Excel 2003. Back in Excel 2003, there was definitely a color difference-- very clearly from white to dark blue-- and the tab colors down here, the selected tabs were in white and the unselected tabs were a little bit more gray.

So I've pulled these numbers into Photoshop, and actually got the RGB values of everything, and sure enough, there is a huge change from 2003-2007. In 2003, the unselected cells had these values and the selected cells had these values, which was, on average, a 19% change in hue as we went from selected to unselected. Well, in 2007, they've really narrowed that range down-- it's, on average, 6.7% change in hue, which really, for me, is not enough to tell the difference. Same with the thing with the tabs; it used to be a 17% change in color from unselected to selected and now they brought this back to 6.3.

And you know, so during my seminars, I love to complain, especially when Microsoft does something that I don't think was the best thing to do, and one of the students, Harry, raised his hand and said, "Look, just change the tab colors."

And sure enough, in 2007, if we would adopt a different color-- so right-click, Tab Color, and, you know, we can choose red or green or whatever you want to do-- well, now it's very obvious which items are selected and which items are unselected because you have the dark green for the unselected and the, basically, white with just a bit of green for the selected. So that's a great solution.

Now, in a previous podcast, we've talked about how to customize all future workbooks. It might be a good idea to go through and set up a template where your tab colors are not the default. Have white? Change it to some other color and then at least you'll be able to tell selected versus unselected.

Don't have a good solution for this situation here, where the selected cells are basically the same color as the unselected cells. You know, I tried, basically, extending Harry's solution to use a different color as the background, and then I lose the gridline so I wasn't extremely happy with that result-- it's still very close, the bright yellow for the unselected and the slightly muted yellow for the selected.

So I want to send thanks out to Harry and all of the students at Culver-Stockton College for hosting me on Saturday, and this cool idea for Excel 2007.

If any of you watching this podcast have come up with a better way to see the selected versus unselected cells in Excel 2007, please feel free to drop me a note: bill@MrExcel.com.

Well, hey, thanks for stopping by, we'll see you next time for another netcast from MrExcel.

Keywords for this video: 2007, accounting, business, excel, microsoft, mrexcel, spreadsheets, technology, tutorial

This video is current as of December 18, 2008


For more resources for Microsoft Excel