Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Copying Fill Color in a Table.

Copying Fill Color in a Table

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 30, 2017)

4

April has a table in her Word document. One row is formatted with a custom color fill to match the company's logo color. April now wants to copy that fill color to other rows. She was hoping to use the Format Painter, but that just copies the text format, not the fill color used in the table cells. April wonders if there is a way to copy the fill color from one row to another.

There are a few ways that you can approach this issue. One is to simply use the tools that are available in Word. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the row that is already filled with the desired color.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the down-arrow to the right of the Shading tool, in the Paragraph group. (The tool looks like a spilling bucket of paint.) Word displays a palette of colors.
  4. Click on More Colors. Word displays the Colors dialog box. The color of the selected row should already show in the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Colors dialog box.

  6. Click OK. (Note that you made no changes in the dialog box; you just clicked OK.)
  7. Select the other rows in the table whose background color you want to change.
  8. Click on the Shading tool on the Design tab of the ribbon. Your desired color is applied to the selected rows.

After you apply the desired color, if you want to apply it elsewhere (perhaps in another table or in some cells you missed), all you need to do is select the cells and press F4. The shading is repeated on the selected cells.

If you need to do this quite a bit with a number of tables or in a number of documents, you may want to consider using a macro to do the shading. A handy little macro is the one below:

Sub ShadeTable()
    Dim backColor As Long
    Dim foreColor As Long

    If Selection.Information(wdWithInTable) Then
        With Selection.Tables(1)
            backColor = .Cell(1, 1).Shading.BackgroundPatternColor
            foreColor = .Cell(1, 1).Shading.ForegroundPatternColor
            .Shading.BackgroundPatternColor = backColor
            .Shading.ForegroundPatternColor = foreColor
        End With
    Else
        MsgBox "Put the insertion point in a table"
    End If
End Sub

The macro shades an entire table based on the shading used in the first cell of the first row of the table. All you need to do is make sure you place the insertion point somewhere within the table before running it.

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 (10932) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Copying Fill Color in a Table.

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 nine minus 2?

2020-05-08 17:56:57

Martin

And what do you do when there is no indication at any level of what the color is? None of the theme colors, no standard or custom colors. RGB are all showing 0

I have found this to be a problem quite often. I use tables a great deal and the only reliable way I have been able to come up with is to copy a row with the fill I want, paste it where needed and split it into the number of cells I need. Any that I want with no background are easy enough to clear, which has always worked.


2018-08-21 21:34:50

Marni Story

Thank you! I have been trying to figure out this very simple thing for months.


2018-05-11 19:10:01

Pierre

Worked perfectly! This helped me copy tricky custom colors across a complex table. Thanks Allen!


2018-01-02 08:46:38

Barry Thistlethwaite

Using the shading drop-down menu also puts the current color in the "Recent Colors" section of the menu so you can re-use it later. This is especially handy when using custom colors instead of choosing from the Theme color blocks--and helps even then if you don't remember which Theme color you applied.


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