The Default Colors in Excel 2007 Suck!

I use Excel all the time. I’ve been on the 2007 version for quite some time and I still can’t get over the ugly pastel color scheme that Microsoft provided us with for the new version.

I know you can choose from a host of other color themes that are available, but most of those suck too.

So I made my own and thought I’d share it with you.

Click Here to Download a Zip File that contains Grid.xml

When you get this file, extract it to the following location:

%AppData%\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes\Theme Colors

This equates to the following:

Windows 7/Vista

C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes\Theme Colors

Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAME\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\Document Themes\Theme Colors

Note: These directories won’t exist until you create a custom color scheme. To do so:

  1. Open Excel
  2. Page Layout -> Colors
  3. Create New Theme Colors
  4. Save


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  • Czech Yourself

    I guess “better” is an opinion. To me, those colors seem appropriate for a Mardi Gras float, not an Excel spreadsheet.

  • You are definitely correct that it is my opinion. I was simply wanting to get back to the old default color scheme I had gotten used to in Excel 2003 and older.

  • daarklord

    For a more subjective reason why a bright and varied scheme such as the Author’s is “better”, Excel highlighting is often about distinguishing different types of data, not about aesthetics. ALL of Microsoft’s existing schemes are lacking in this aspect: they concentrate too much on one side of the spectrum, mostly grays and blues, and most of them have no yellow at all. Mark’s scheme is better because it makes more use of the color spectrum.

  • Andre

    Thanks for the info Mark, and I am in agreement with DaarkLord above.

    I am trying to figure out why everybody is now eschewing basic colors. Red is replaced by Autumn Rose, Green replaced by Olive, and Blue replaced by Aqua. And why is yellow now forbidden??

    Sometimes you just want a simple blue…

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