I choose Blue… No, Orange! Wait, maybe Lime Green?

I choose Blue… No, Orange! Wait, maybe Lime Green?

Have you ever found the perfect clipart for your presentation, document or worksheet only to find that it seems to clash with other elements (maybe the background or other clipart)?

Did you find yourself wishing you could change the clipart color scheme so everything would look “right?”

Well, you can… if you have MS PowerPoint.

When you insert clipart into an MS PowerPoint slide, a picture toolbar comes up and it’s on this toolbar that we’ll find a Recolor button.

But I get ahead of myself here—let’s start at the beginning.

First thing you need to do (besides starting PowerPoint and getting into a slide) is to insert the clip art you need to recolor. You can do this several ways. You could select a slide type that contains clip art and then use the clip art box to insert or you could use the Insert menu, Picture choice, Clip Art from the sub-menu. (Or any other method you may know—the point is to insert a clip art picture.)

Once the clip art is in the slide you should notice a picture toolbar has opened.


On this toolbar we’re looking for the Recolor Picture button.

Click on the button.

The Recolor Picture window should open showing you a list of the colors currently used in the clip art and a preview of the picture. It’s in this window that you have the option of changing any or all of the colors in the clip art.


On the left is the list of colors. To change any color, simply click the down arrow to the right of the New color box.


The current color scheme for the clip art will pop-up. If none of those colors are what you’re looking for then click on the More Colors button at the bottom.

See the difference between the two pictures? I already changed the green to pink.

This will take you to the Colors window where you can choose a color from the standard choices or pick a custom color (found on the Custom tab). (To pick a custom color move the white cross hairs through the color spectrum until the color in the New box suites your needs.)

Whether custom or standard, click OK once you’ve found the new color choice.

You should be returned to the Recolor Picture window where you should see your clip art with the color change.

Notice that all occurrences of the old color have been replaced with the new color. (Sorry—you can’t replace just certain elements. Color changes affect all places where the original color existed.)

Change as many of the colors as you feel necessary. Any change you don’t like can be reversed by un-checking the box to the left of the original color.

You can click the Preview button and the clip art in the slide will be updated with the new colors, allowing you to see exactly how it will look. You are then free to continue making color changes to get just the right affect.

When you have your clip art exactly as you want it, click OK.

(I’d like to re-iterate here that to restore your clip art to its original colors, simply un-check the boxes to the left of the original color bar.)

Now I looked in Word and Excel for a similar option and just couldn’t find one. But, of course, that just wouldn’t do. I frequently print documents and worksheets in color and I’m always trying to make the clip art match. So I set out in search of a way to use this little tidbit in Word and Excel too.

My first thought was a copy/paste from PowerPoint to Word or Excel. But that didn’t work—it always returned the clip art to the original colors.

So I tried the Paste Special option and, BAM!, I had a useable solution.

To bring a re-colored clip art into Word or Excel simply select and copy the clip art in PowerPoint then switch over to Word or Excel. Once there, go to the Edit menu, Paste Special choice.

In the Paste Special window, choose (in the center of the window) to bring the clip art in as a type of Picture. I found that any of the picture options would paste the clip art with the new colors.


Click OK. You should now have your custom colored clip art at your disposal.

Whew! Glad we figured out that one. I just hate it when things don’t match!

~ April

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