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Rainbow gradient or effect in Office, Word or PowerPoint

A rainbow in Office is a custom gradient effect available for Shapes including WordArt borders and many elements in Word, PowerPoint and other Office programs for Windows or Mac. We have the exact colors, positions and options to use for a great rainbow.

All the Office preset gradients are single-color effects however it’s possible to make multi-color gradients using Gradient Stops.  Megan Casey shows how to make a rainbow gradient effect, in short, add the gradient stops then change the colors.

The specific rainbow colors are mostly on the color selector ‘Standard Colors’.  Those colors are roughly in rainbow order.

See below for specific detail on rainbow colors and positioning.

Then choose:

Gradient type: Linear, Radial, Rectangular or Path

Direction:  choose from the gallery of options

Angle:  to rotate the rainbow colors.

In short, play with those options until you get the look you want.

Office for Mac

The Gradient Fill options is available in Office for Mac.  If anything, it’s a little better than in Office for Windows.

The Gradient Stops bar is larger, making the overall effect clearer to see.

Rainbow color breakdown

The rainbow traditionally broken down into seven main colors.

Here’s all seven rainbow colors, in order, with the RGB and Hex color codes.  RGB codes are compatible with all versions of Word, PowerPoint etc.  Hex color codes have been recently added to Office 365 for Windows and Mac.

Red – 255, 0,0  or #FF0000

Orange – 255, 127, 0  or #FF7F00

Yellow – 255, 255, 0 or #FFFF00

Green – 0, 255, 0  or #00FF00

Cyan – 0, 255, 255 or #00FFFF

Blue – 0,0, 255 or #0000FF

Violet – 127, 0, 255 or #7F00FF

An alternative rainbow exchanges ‘Cyan’ and ‘Blue’ above for the following.

Blue – 0, 153, 255 or #0099ff ( a lighter blue than above)

Indigo – 68, 0, 255 or #4400FF

If you’re making a very large shape, more gradient stops with more colors might improve the effect.  However, seven stops seems to be enough.

Gradient Positions

Usually the gradient stops are positioned manually and that’s enough.  If you’d like to be precise use the position option to choose a location between 0 and 100 (whole numbers only).

For a seven gradient rainbow the position numbers are 0, 17, 33, 50, 66, 83 and 100 (i.e 16.6 apart rounded to the nearest integer).

Copying the Rainbow effect

Here’s the bad news, custom gradient effects can’t be saved or copied directly.

The partial good news is that last custom gradient used should be available again for a new object when you choose Gradient Fill. See Format Painter with Shapes and gradients

Tip: if you use Rainbow effects a lot, you might make a ‘Rainbow’ document with various shapes and objects ready to copy when needed.

Rainbow shape and Rainbow text in Office

Gradient and Rainbow Picture Borders in Word and PowerPoint

Two ways to add Gradient or Rainbow text or background effects in Word

Framing pictures, graphics, logos in Word and PowerPoint

Format Painter with Shapes and gradients

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