Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Discovering the RGB Value of a Custom Text Color.

Discovering the RGB Value of a Custom Text Color

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 23, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Steve has text in a document that has been formatted in a custom color. He wants to use Find and Replace to change the color throughout, but doesn't know how to specify the custom color in the Find box. He wonders if there is a way to discover the RGB values of a custom color.

There are several ways you can discover the RGB value of a color used on some text. Here's one way:

  1. Select the text whose color you want examine.
  2. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the down-arrow that is next to the Font Color tool in Font group. Word displays a palette of possible colors.
  4. Click More Colors. Word displays the Colors dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Custom tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Custom tab of the Colors dialog box.

  7. At the bottom of the dialog box you can see the RGB values for the text color.

Word also provides another way to display the RGB colors of a text selection: All you need to do is select the text and press Shift+F1. Word displays the Reveal Formatting pane at the right side of the document. This pane shows all the formatting applied to the selected text. In the Font section of the pane you can see an indication of the RGB colors of the text.

You can also use a third-party utility to figure out the RGB colors of your text. Most of these utilities don't really care about the text, they simply show the color of any particular pixel of the screen that you point at. Here are two suggestions for such utilities:

http://instant-eyedropper.com/
http://colorcop.net/

Once you have the RGB values for the existing color, you can easily use Find and Replace to make the change. Just follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Make sure that there is nothing in either the Find What or Replace With boxes.
  3. If there is any formatting specified for either Find What or Replace With, put the insertion point in the appropriate box and click No Formatting.
  4. Place the insertion point in the Find What box.
  5. Click Format | Font. Word displays the Font tab of the Find Font dialog box.
  6. Click the Font Color drop-down list and then choose More Colors. Word displays the Colors dialog box.
  7. Make sure the Custom tab is displayed.
  8. At the bottom of the dialog box you can set the RGB values for the text color you want to find.
  9. Click OK to dismiss the Colors dialog box.
  10. Click OK to dismiss the Find Font dialog box.
  11. Place the insertion point in the Replace With box.
  12. Repeat steps 5 through 10 to set the desired color for the replacement. (You don't have to repeat the same steps if you want to replace the color with some other permutation of formatting. Use the controls in the dialog box to set what you want.)
  13. Click Replace All.

Of course, there is a way to change custom colors without even worrying about RGB values. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the text whose color you want examine.
  2. Right-click on the text and then choose Styles | Select Text with Similar Formatting. Word selects all the text in the document that is formatting like the text you selected in step 1.
  3. Change the color of the selected text, as desired.

This approach only works, of course, if the only distinguishing formatting of the text is its color. For example, if the text you selected in step 1 is a certain font size and boldface, then those factors will be taken into account in step 2. Word may not select some text in the document that uses the same color as the text in step 1 but isn't the same font size and non-bold.

Finally, if you need to change a lot of colors in this manner, you may want to use a macro to do the actual changes. The following macro can make the change in a single pass:

Sub ChangeCustomColor()
    CFC = Selection.Font.Color
    Selection.WholeStory
    With Selection.Find
        .Format = True
        .Text = ""
        .Font.Color = CFC
        .Replacement.Text = ""
        .Replacement.Font.Color = RGB(0, 0, 255)  ' Change to BLUE font
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

Before you run the macro, change the RGB setting in the line that controls the replacement color. Then, select the text that uses the custom color you want to change. When you run the macro, all the text that uses the same color as the selected text is modified to whatever color you specified in the macro itself.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (261) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Discovering the RGB Value of a Custom Text Color.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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