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Hex color code advantages in Office

Hex color codes in Microsoft 365 for Windows and Mac aren’t just good for HTML coders, it’s a fantastic shortcut for anyone managing colors in Word, PowerPoint or other Office documents.

Hex color codes are an option in Microsoft 365, Office 2021 and Office 2019. It seems like a simple change in the Custom Color dialog but Hex Code opens up some useful options.

‘Hex’ are six character color codes using 0 – 9 plus A-F.

In Office you can type or paste the code, with or without the # prefix. Office will add the hash # if it’s missing.

Office for Mac

Mac users can have a little laugh. Office for Mac already has Hex code support on the Color Sliders tab.  In fact, Office for Mac has much better color selection options because it uses the powerful color selection tools in MacOS.

Copy and Paste colors

Color matching has been a right pain in Office until now.  To ensure that doc or slide elements match meant remembering the RGB or HSL color code, writing it on a note, back your hand, whatever.  Then switch to the other element (text, shape, image etc) and type in the digits.

(Format Painter doesn’t work with all document parts and will copy all the formatting, not just the color).

No need with Hex Codes … select the Hex code and copy to the clipboard (Ctrl + C).  Switch to the color selector for another Office part and paste the Hex color code into the Custom Color dialog (in the same document, another doc or even another Office program).

Easy and no need to mumble a trio of numbers under your breath while switching!

That applies wherever the color selector appears, for fonts, images, borders, shapes, icons etc.

What are Hex colors?

‘Hex’ means Hexadecimal or base 16. The color codes are six characters long using 0 – 9 plus A-F.

Green is #008000  Blue #0000ff  Silver #c0c0c0 .

They are usually prefixed with a # to distinguish them from other color codings.

Short Hex codes supported

Hex codes with repeating characters can be abbreviated to three characters, #ffcc00 can become #fc0  .

Short, 3 character Hex codes can be typed into the Hex field. Office will convert them into full 6 character Hex codes.

Named Hex codes not supported

Web designers know that Hex codes can be given special names. There are 16 basic named Hex colors like #Aqua #Navy etc.

These codes are NOT supported in Office.  That’s a pity since there are only sixteen possibilities. It would have been comprehensive and convenient for Office to convert the named color into full Hex code, similar to what happens with short hex codes.

Quick Color Conversion Hex to RGB or HSL

If you really need an RGB or HSL color setting, type in the Hex code and Office will show it in the other two forms.

Sure, there are plenty of color code conversion sites on the web but Colors | Custom is already there for you and works offline too!

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