Macabacus includes several cycles and other tools for coloring cells and chart elements. Colors used by these tools can be customized in the Excel > Format > Colors section of the Settings dialog. When customizing these colors, you can choose from any color in your Macabacus color palette. If you want to use a color in your cycle that is not available in your palette, you must first modify your palette to include that color.

When cycling through colors in a cycle using a keyboard shortcut, and the last color in the cycle is reached, repeating the keystroke applies the first color in the cycle. While color cycles are intended for use with shortcut keystrokes, you can also access the colors in your color cycles under the Macabacus > Format > Color menu.

Font Colors

Blue-Black Toggle

Alternate the font color of selected cells between blue and your default font color (typically black) using the Blue-Black Toggle. Blue and black are the font colors used most often in financial modeling, where blue is used to denote inputs and black is used for formulas that reference only cells within the same worksheet.


Font Color Cycle

The Font Color Cycle consists of several customizable font colors that you most frequently use in your modeling. Key the Font Color Cycle shortcut to apply the next font color in the cycle to all selected cells.


Default Font Color

The default font color is used for optionally recoloring fonts when exporting cells to PowerPoint/Word and generating PDFs. Black is the default font color, which can be customized.

Recolor Colors

Recolor colors are font colors that Macabacus will recolor to the default font color when exporting cells to PowerPoint/Word and generating PDFs. Normally, these colors will be similar or identical to your AutoColor colors.

No AutoColor Colors

In some cases, you may not want an AutoColor operation (discussed below) to override existing font colors that have special meaning. For example, if you colored a numeric input red as a reminder to update it later, you would not want AutoColor to change the number's font color to blue. To avoid unintended AutoColoring, add red to the list of No AutoColor colors in the Settings dialog. When you later perform an AutoColor operation, cells with red fonts will not be modified. When customizing your No AutoColor colors, note that just one or two colors may be sufficient.


In financial and other types of modeling, font colors are commonly used to visually characterize cell content. For example, numeric inputs are typically colored blue. Macabacus lets you create an AutoColor scheme that defines which font colors to use for cells containing numeric inputs, partial inputs, formulas that reference cells on the same worksheet, formulas that reference cells in other worksheets and workbooks, hyperlinks, and formulas that contain external data functions (e.g., FactSet or CapIQ "pulls").

The default AutoColor scheme that installs with Macabacus reflects the finance industry standard, but you can modify these colors as desired in the Settings dialog. In practice, your AutoColor colors should be the same as or similar to those in your Font Color Cycle.

What is a partial input?

Partial inputs are formulas that contain one or more inputs, or "hardcoded" values, such as =A1+12.34. This formula is effectively an input because we have hardcoded the value 12.34 into the formula. Accordingly, you might expect AutoColor to apply the same font color to this cell that it applies to normal input cells (those containing just a number). If so, specify the same color for inputs and partial inputs in your AutoColor scheme. Alternatively, assign a unique color for partial inputs.

Whether a formula is a partial input can be subjective. The formula in the example above is clearly a partial input, but what about the formula =CHOOSE(2,A1,A2,A3)? Does the value "2" constitute a partial input? Macabacus' AutoColor algorithm makes that determination for you, and you may not always agree with it. If this happens often, you can disable AutoColoring for partial inputs by removing the partial inputs color from your AutoColor scheme.

Macabacus ignores the values 0, 1, 100, 1000, and 1000000 in formulas when checking for partial inputs.

AutoColor Selection

Apply the AutoColor scheme to all cells in the selected range.


AutoColor Sheet

Apply the AutoColor scheme to the active worksheet.


AutoColor Workbook

Apply the AutoColor scheme to the entire active workbook.


AutoColor on Entry

With this feature enabled, Macabacus will automatically color cell fonts according to your AutoColor scheme as you enter cell values and formulas.

Performance considerations

AutoColor on Entry may slow down some operations involving large numbers of cells, and may adversely impact Undo/Redo behavior. For this reason, AutoColor on Entry is disabled by default.

AutoColor Cycle

The AutoColor Cycle is comprised of the customizable font colors in your AutoColor scheme. Key the AutoColor Cycle shortcut to apply the next font color in the cycle to all selected cells.


Fill Colors

Fill Color Cycle

The Fill Color Cycle consists of several customizable cell fill colors that are most frequently used in your modeling. Key the Fill Color Cycle shortcut to apply the next fill color in the cycle to all selected cells.


Alternate Row/Column Shading

Shade odd/even rows/columns in the selection the default shading color. Because Macabacus uses conditional formatting to achieve alternate shading, alternate shading will persist as rows/columns are inserted and removed. Alternate shading can be cycled using a keyboard shortcut, or applied using the buttons on the Macabacus > Format > Color > Row/Column Shading menu.

Note that conditional formatting is "volatile," and may slow down Excel when used extensively or applied to very large cell ranges. You can alternatively apply alternating row/column shading using traditional (i.e., non-conditional) formatting with Macabacus' Modify Rows and Modify Columns tools.


Default Shading Color

The default fill color is used to shade alternate rows/columns. Light gray is the default font color, which can be customized.

Border Colors

Border Color Cycle

The Border Color Cycle consists of several customizable border colors that you most frequently use in your modeling. Key the Border Color Cycle shortcut to apply the next border color in the cycle to all selected cells. Note that Border Color Cycle only changes the color of existing borders and will not add new borders to selected cells.


Default Border Color

The default border color is the border color applied when using border style cycles and the Sum Bar tool. Black is the default border color, which can be customized.

Chart Colors

Chart Color Cycle

The Chart Color Cycle consists of several customizable chart colors that you most frequently use in charting. Key the Chart Color Cycle shortcut to apply the next chart color in the cycle to the selected chart element.

Chart properties that can be colored using this tool include series fill color, series line color, data point fill color, chart area fill color, plot area fill color, gridlines color, and legend fill color. We recommend adding only your most frequently used chart colors (including perhaps a gridline color) to the Chart Color Cycle to limit cycle time.


Chart Series Colors

You can recolor series in selected charts to your customized series colors by clicking the Macabacus > Charts > Recolor Chart > Recolor Series to Defaults button. This is a quick way to apply your preferred color scheme, without having to deal with Office's more cumbersome chart templates. If you specify six chart series colors, and your chart has seven series, for example, the Series 1 color will be applied to Series 7.

This documentation refers to the latest Macabacus version. Some features and descriptions of these features may not apply to older versions of Macabacus. Update your Macabacus software to take advantage of the latest features.

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