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I just noticed something very strange. I created an Excel workbook in Excel 2010 (Windows 7) and manually formatted alternate rows with slightly different colors. When my colleague opened the document, all rows appeared as white.

I did some investigation and determined that the difference was tied to my Windows Appearance Settings. I like to keep my Window color setting at a light gray instead of white.

Here are some screenshots:

These screenshots were taken on my computer after my colleague recreated the alternating rows on his computer with standard Windows Appearance Settings.

Gray Window Color in Windows 7 Appearance Settings Excel rows with Window color set to gray.

Gray Window Color Settings

White Window Color in Windows 7 Appearance Settings Excel rows with Window color set to white.

White Window Color Settings

Has anyone seen this before? I could not find any linkage between Windows Appearance Settings and Excel Color Themes anywhere.

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The cells that are changing colour are probably set to "automatic", which, as you've observed, is influenced by Windows colour settings. "Automatic" is essentially transparent, letting through the window colour behind the cell.

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As far as I know, they aren't set to automatic. We specifically chose a color for all cells because the entire worksheet has an image background. – Brian Jan 18 '13 at 23:25
If you set the colours using the "theme colour" picker (the nice little grid of boxes when you chose a colour) the left column is based on your window colour, and then shaded in different levels. You need to explicitly pick white by clicking "more colours" and using the picker. This is confusing behaviour because the sample colour says "white", not "your window colour"... I changed my window colour to red and the first column is all shades of red and it explicitly says "red" in the tooltip. – evilspoons Jan 18 '13 at 23:29
Here's what I mean: – evilspoons Jan 18 '13 at 23:32

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