How To Change The Tab Colour In Excel

Whatever your reason for wanting to change the tab colour in Microsoft Excel, it really could not be any easier. To learn how to change the tab colour in Excel, simply follow our tutorial below. For all other information, or if you have any further queries, we recommend you check out our FAQ section at the end of this article.

How to change the tab colour in Microsoft Excel

  1. Open up Microsoft Excel on your device, load a test workbook, and then quickly populate the workbook with a few extra sheets by clicking the (+) sign next to ‘Sheet 1’ at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, open a current project which already has multiple sheets (i.e. multiple tabs)

  2. To change the colour of a tab, right click on the first tab at the bottom of the page (e.g. right-click on ‘Sheet 1’)
  3. From the pop-up options, click on ‘Tab Color’, and a colour menu will pop-out to the side
  4. You can choose a standard colour for your tab from the options available, or choose a more specific colour by clicking ‘More Colors’ and then selecting one from the Standard or Custom palettes 

  5. Click on the colour you want to apply to the tab to apply it

  6. Repeat as necessary to colour code as many or as few of your tabs as you like

And that’s all there is to it! Happy customising, happy organising, and happy navigating your Excel sheet! If you’d like a little more information or have any other questions, please see our FAQs below.


What is a ‘tab’ in Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is the world’s premier spreadsheet program, enjoyed by millions of professionals and laypeople around the world as a user-friendly software enabling them to keep track of lots and lots of data with ease. 

A ‘tab’ in Microsoft Excel is a small label running along the bottom of your open spreadsheet, pertaining to another specific sheet. In other words, you are able to create many different ‘sheets’ within the one workbook/project/document, and a tab is a little bookmark that leads you back to each sheet.

Why should I change my tabs’ colours in Microsoft Excel?

Whilst you can rename each tab so that you can easily remember what data is contained within each sheet, sometimes staring at a bunch of black-on-white text can be straining on your eyes, or just downright confusing. For many of us, colour-coding is simply a much preferable, easier, quicker option for the organisation and navigation of Excel sheets.

You can change each individual tab to a different colour, which may help you to navigate your workbook with much greater ease. Perhaps you colour thematically, colour-coding all of the sheets in a yearly financial planner which pertain to months already past in red, and all those months to come in green, whilst keeping the month you’re currently in the blank, or maybe yellow.

Alternatively, you might colour-code each sheet differently. Red for one department, blue for another, green for the London office, pink for the office in Los Angeles, and so on, and so forth.

Can I remove colour from a tab in Microsoft Excel?

Yes, absolutely you can remove the colour from a Microsoft Excel tab. If you change your mind about colour-coding your tabs or find it distracting to have every single tab coloured, and would perhaps rather colour only every second tab, you can always reset a tab’s colour to default (which is to say ‘no colour’).

To do so, simply repeat the steps outlined above, but when it comes to selecting a colour for the tab from the pop-out menu, instead select ‘No Colour/Color’. That’s all there is to it!

How many different tabs can I have in Microsoft Excel?

Technically you are limited to about 255 different tabs, or sheets, in Microsoft Excel. However, almost all users (except perhaps those who use it extensively to deal with a huge amount of data) will never even come close to using this amount of tabs in one workbook.

Instead, it’s far more likely that you use less than a dozen tabs (maybe you use a dozen, with one for each month of the financial year, for example). As such, there is no real tangible limit on the number of tabs you can have in Microsoft Excel, and thus a wide range of colour possibilities for organising your tabs.