Finding and Replacing Table Cell Color

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 16, 2021)

4

Jim knows how to use advanced Find and Replace to change font color globally throughout a document. Recently he wanted to do the same with the background shading of table cells. He wonders if there is a way to use Find and Replace to change the color of table cells.

Unfortunately there is no way to do this—backgrounds in table cells are not findable or replaceable with the Find and Replace tool. The closest way to do this would be to define a special style that can be applied to the text within the table cells, and then you could use Find and Replace to locate the style and make changes. (Of course, you could make changes directly to the style definition itself.) This, however, doesn't affect the cell background; it only affects the text within the cell.

If you are satisfied changing the background color manually, you might try this to see if it speeds up the changes:

  1. Select the first cell you want to shade and apply the desired shading to that cell.
  2. With the cell still selected, press Ctrl+Shift+C. This variation on the copy shortcut copies just the formatting from the selected item (the cell).
  3. Select all the other cells in the table that you want to shade the same way. (The cells don't need to be contiguous. You can build the selection set by holding down the Ctrl key as you add or remove cells from the set.)
  4. Press Ctrl+Shift+V. This variation on the paste shortcut pastes just the formatting.

The result is that you've now applied the background shading to all the cells you wanted, without the need to format each cell individually.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (4316) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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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What is 9 - 1?

2021-05-07 00:34:44

Tomek

As B Witkin said, Ctrl+Shift+C/Ctrl+Shift+V combination does not work for ***cell formatting***, at least in my MS365 (Family). Neither does the Format Painter button. However, Caran's suggestion using F4 (or Ctrl+Y) will do the trick. Unluckily, this just repeats the single last action. If you want to change background and cell borders at the same time you have to do it in two passes, or more, if you are changing additional cell formatting. Table style defines formatting of the whole table; I wasn't able to apply it to just selected cells.

Does anybody have any suggestion to set a single cell or a selected cell range formatting to a predefined combination?


2021-05-03 10:30:53

B Witkin

I've never had much success using Ctrl+Shift+C (or the Format Painter button) with cell formatting. Typically it just picks up the formatting of the text in the cell rather than the cell itself. Is this because there is text? Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance!


2017-09-10 23:28:31

Caran

This tip seems to be a rather roundabout way to do it. My suggestion would be to select the cell you want to shade, apply the desired shading, then click in the next cell to shade and press F4 (to repeat the last action). No need to fuss with selecting a bunch of cells and then applying the shading!


2017-09-09 06:14:34

Diana van den Berg

I tried Finding and the Replacing Table Cell Colour, but it didn't work for me. It didn't paste anything. I have Word 2010 and Windows 7 Professional.


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