6 Ways to Change the Sheet Tab Color in Microsoft Excel

Do you need to change the sheet tab colors in your workbook? This post is going to show you all the ways to change the tab color of your sheets in Microsoft Excel.

Excel lets you customize your workbooks in a variety of ways. One popular way to visually organize your worksheets is to change the color of the sheet tabs.

Using different colors for sheets that contain inputs, data, calculations, reports, or visuals can be a helpful way to arrange your workbooks. You might also have a sheet for each month of the year and distinguish each quarter by color.

Excel makes it easy to change tab colors, and doing so can help users keep track of important information.

By changing the tab color, users can quickly identify which sheets contain what type of information.

Get your copy of the example workbook used in this post and follow along!

Change the Sheet Tab Color with a Right Click

The most straightforward way to change your sheet tab color is with the right-click menu.

When you right-click on any sheet tab, you will see various options including changing the color.

Follow these steps to change your sheet tab color.

  1. Right-click on the sheet tab to which you want to change the color.
  2. Select the Tab Color option from the menu.
  3. Choose a color option.

Your sheet tab will now be colored.

📝 Note: the color that is displayed on the tab will usually be a lighter shade than the chosen color while the tab is selected. Select any other tab and the chosen color will be prominently displayed.

If you want more selection than the Standard Colors or Theme Colors, you can select the More Colors option.

This will open the Colors menu and you will be able to more precisely pick your color from a color map or provide the exact RGB or Hex code for the color.

Remove the Sheet Tab Color a Right Click

If you need to remove any coloring you’ve applied to your tab, you can also do this with the right-click menu.

Follow these steps to remove the color from a tab.

  1. Right-click on the sheet from which you want to remove the color.
  2. Choose Tab Color from the options.
  3. Chose No Color from the options.

The color is removed from your selected tab!

Change the Sheet Tab Color with the Home Tab

These color tab options are also available in the Home tab of the ribbon.

Follow these steps to change the sheet tab color from the Home tab.

  1. Select the sheet to which you want to change the tab color. It should be the active sheet in the workbook.
  2. Go to the Home tab or the ribbon.
  1. Click on the Format command found in the Cells section.
  2. Choose the Tab Color option from the menu.
  3. Choose your desired color.

Your active sheet tab will now be colored with the chosen color!

Change the Sheet Tab Color with a Keyboard Shortcut

There is no dedicated keyboard shortcut for changing the tab colors, but you can access the Tab Color menu by using the Alt hotkey shortcuts.

Press the Alt key and the ribbon will show you what key will access the different commands in the ribbon.

Press the Alt, H, O, T sequence to open the Tab Color options menu.

  1. Pressing Alt will activate the hotkeys.
  2. Pressing H will select the Home tab in the ribbon.
  3. Pressing O will select the Format command from the Cells section.
  4. Pressing T will open the Tab Color menu.

Once you have the Tab Color menu open, you can use the arrow keys to select a color option. Press the Enter key to confirm the color choice and change your tab color.

You can also press the M key at any time for the More Colors menu.

Change Multiple Sheet Tab Colors at the Same Time

If you need to change the color or many sheets, you definitely wouldn’t want to do it manually for each sheet. That would take a lot of clicks!

Thankfully, you can change the color of multiple sheet tabs at once!

Change Multiple Adjacent Sheet Tab Colors

You can select multiple adjacent tabs and then change the color.

  1. Select the first tab.
  2. Hold the Shift key.
  3. Select the last tab.
  4. Right-click on the last tab.
  5. Choose the Tab Color option from the menu.
  6. Choose the color for all your selected tabs.

All the selected tab colors are changed!

Change Multiple Non Adjacent Sheet Tab Colors

You can select multiple non-adjacent tabs and then change the color.

  1. Select the first tab.
  2. Hold the Ctrl key.
  3. Select any other tabs.
  4. Right-click on the last tab.
  5. Choose the Tab Color option from the menu.
  6. Choose the color for all your selected tabs.

All the selected tab colors are changed!

Change All Sheet Tab Colors

There is a quick way to select all the tabs in your workbook. You can then change the color for all the selected sheets.

  1. Right-click on any tab.
  2. Choose the Select All Sheets option from the menu.
  3. Right-click on any sheet.
  4. Choose the Tab Color option from the menu.
  5. Choose the color for all your selected tabs.

Now all the sheets tab colors have been changed!

💡 Tip: This is a great way to change all but one or two tab colors. After all the sheets are selected, hold the Ctrl key and click on any tab to deselect it.

Change the Sheet Tab Color with VBA

Changing the sheet tab color is something you can automate!

Suppose you want to change the tab color for all sheets named with a certain prefix. You can get this done with a bit of VBA code.

Go to the Developer tab and select the Visual Basic command to open the visual basic editor. You can also press the Alt + F11 keyboard shortcut to open the VBA editor.

💡 Tip: Check out this post to learn how to show the Developer tab in your ribbon.

Go to the Insert menu in the editor and select the Module option.

Sub ChangeTabColor()
Dim ws As Worksheet
    For Each ws In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
        If Left(ws.Name, 4) = "2021" Then
            ws.Tab.Color = RGB(0, 176, 80)
        End If
    Next ws
End Sub

Now you can paste the above code into the new module.

This code will loop through each sheet in the workbook and check if the sheet name starts with 2021, and if so, the tab color is changed. Otherwise, nothing is changed.

The color is set based on the RGB code and these values can be changed as needed to achieve different colors.

You can also adjust the "2021" in the above code to whatever text you need. For example, Left(ws.Name, 1) = "A" would check if the sheet name started with A.

When you run this VBA code, all the matching sheets will get their color updated.

Remove the Sheet Tab Color with VBA

You can also remove the tab color using VBA code.

All you need to do is change this line of code ws.Tab.Color = RGB(0, 176, 80) with this line ws.Tab.Color = False.

This will set the tab color to No Color.

Change the Sheet Tab Color with Office Scripts

Office Scripts is a JavaScript language for Excel but is only available in the web version with a Microsoft 365 business subscription.

If you are using Excel online and need to automate your tasks, this is the tool you need!

You can also automate your tab color changes with Office Scripts.

Go to the Automate tab in Excel online and select the New Script command.

function main(workbook: ExcelScript.Workbook) {
	let sheets = workbook.getWorksheets();

	for (let sheet of sheets) {
		if (sheet.getName().startsWith('2021')) {
			sheet.setTabColor('FF0000');
		};
	};
}

This will open the Office Scripts Code Editor and you can place the above code and press the Save script button.

This code loops through all the sheets in the workbook and will change the tab color if the sheet name starts with 2021. It will change the tab color based on the hexadecimal color code supplied in the code.

In this example, the hex code is FF0000 so the tabs will be updated with a red color, but you can change this hex code based on your needs.

Remove the Sheet Tab Color with Office Scripts

You can also remove any tab colors that have been applied to your workbook with a slight change to the code.

Replace this line of code sheet.setTabColor('FF0000'); with this line sheet.setTabColor('');.

This will set the tab color to No Color.

Conclusions

Changing the sheet tab color is a great way to visually organize your Excel spreadsheets.

There are several ways to manually change the color from the right-click menu, Home tab, and using the hotkey shortcuts.

Changing multiple sheet colors at the same time is also possible. You can select multiple sheets and then change the color for all that are selected.

The colors on your sheet tabs can also be automated through VBA and Office Scripts when you need to deal with many sheets or you need to color code sheets in many workbooks.

Do you use this tab color feature? Do you know any other tips for changing the sheet tab colors? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

John MacDougall

John MacDougall

John is a Microsoft MVP and qualified actuary with over 15 years of experience. He has worked in a variety of industries, including insurance, ad tech, and most recently Power Platform consulting. He is a keen problem solver and has a passion for using technology to make businesses more efficient.

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