Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Discovering the RGB Value of a Custom Text Color.

Discovering the RGB Value of a Custom Text Color

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 29, 2016)

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. Choose Font from the Format menu or press Ctrl+D. Word displays the Font tab of the Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Font tab of the Font dialog box.

  4. Click the Font Color drop-down list and then choose More Colors. Word displays the Colors dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Custom tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. 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.

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.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (252) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) 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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