Google Sheets logo

How to have 2 colors in 1 cell in Google Sheets

Data is more engaging and comprehensible in color. In Google Sheets, red could mean “error”, “loss”, “negative value”, etc. while green is usually the opposite.

But what if you want to spice things up? Like adding both colors to one cell. Is it even possible? How DO you add two colors to one cell in Google Sheets? In this guide, we’ll be answering these questions and more.

Let’s start by answering the first question:

Is It Possible to Have 2 Colors in A Single Cell in Google Sheets?

If we’re sticking to the rulebook:

No, Google Sheets does not natively have this feature.

Unlike with Microsoft Excel, you can just go to:

Format Cells > Fill > Fill Effects > Two Colors > Select Shading Styles

But don’t lose hope! Because we dug up some forums/Reddit posts and found a workaround. With some tinkering, we were able to whip up a process to achieve a similar effect.

Alternative Ways to Have 2 Colors in 1 Cell

1. Use 2 Cells and Merge The Rest

This may not sound elegant, but it can get the job done. The trick is to have two adjacent cells, fill them both with the color you prefer, and remove their borders. This gives the illusion of having two colors in one cell.

The issue with this method is that now you have to adjust the rest of your data to conform to the new setup. You would have to merge some cells and fix their length.

A quick tip to merge quicker: Take two cells, merge them, hover over the bottom right corner of the newly merged cell (your cursor should be on the blue dot), and drag horizontally or vertically depending on your needs.

2. Use the Drawing Tool (Recommended)

This is a quick and easy method that you could do in 2 minutes. Here’s what you have to do:

1. Click Insert on the toolbar

2. Choose Drawing

3. Using the Shapes button, create a rectangle

4. Duplicate the rectangle either by CTRL+C and CTRL+V (for Windows) or CMD+C and CMD+V (For Mac)

5. Drag the newly created rectangle and snap it next to the original rectangle

6. Fill both rectangles to the color you prefer and Click Save and Close

7. Drag your shape over the cell you want it on and adjust its size by dragging the blue squares on its corners

Now you have a 2-color shape that you can place on top of any cell. And the best part is… it’s resizable!

Applications of Two-Color Cells: The Use Cases

1. Data Visualization: Making Data Speak

Applying two colors to a cell can enhance your data visualization. The contrast between the text color and the background color can facilitate data comprehension and add an appealing visual aspect to your spreadsheet.

2. Task Progress Tracking: Visualizing Progress

If you are leveraging Google Sheets for project management, two-color cells can serve as a handy visual aid for tracking task progress. A color change can depict a task’s completion status, providing a quick overview of your project’s progression.

3. Budgeting: A Visual Finance Guide

In the financial realm, a two-color cell can be very useful for indicating budget utilization. One color can represent the planned budget, while the second can display actual expenditure, providing a clear financial overview at a glance.

Remember, while color variation can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your data, maintaining readability is critical. Consider adding line breaks when inputting descriptions within your cells for better readability. Google Sheets provides a guide on how to insert line breaks in cells.

In summary

Although Google Sheets doesn’t directly support two-color cells, there are several workarounds that can help you achieve a similar visual effect. The choice between gradient fill, cell splitting, image insertion, or miniature bar graph creation depends on your data needs and the visual effect you aim to achieve.

If you’re keen to master Google Sheets, our series of SaaS guides offers a wealth of tips and how-tos, including conditional formatting styles, custom color palettes, toolbar functionalities, header formatting, and paste operations. Continue exploring and elevating your spreadsheet skills. Remember, a well-presented spreadsheet is more than just numbers—it’s a story told in color!

Related Questions

Can I gradient fill a cell in Google Sheets?

Although there are workarounds to this (albeit tedious), officially, you cannot add a gradient fill to a cell in Google Sheets.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *