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I would like to quickly manually mark some cells of interest by changing their background to:

  • light red
  • light green
  • light grey

In old versions of Excel, this was easy: it was possible to detach the palette into separate tool window

enter image description here

and when target cells were selected, clicking desired color did the job. In recent Excel versions, I am unable to make the palette always visible so I always need clicking two different places when changing the color: 1 – open palette; 2 – select color.

Is there any way to pick from more colors on single click as before?

When finishing writing this question, I found one way and added it as answer but feel free to propose more efficient way, if you know it.

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I found a way which requires some preparation, but then it works on single click.

Use cell styles

Preparation:
In Home tab, add styles for desired fill colors (follow yellow marking on image below).

Usage:
Added styles are available on single click (see red marking on image below).

enter image description here

  • The Styles palette automatically expands to all available space in Home toolbar. The larger screen resolution is available, the more styles is reachable on single click.

  • On clicking the style, all groups of properties checked in Style window (also visible above) are applied to the cell. This allows to combine multiple styles applied to a cell if they do not overlap. To quickly revert to defaults, select Normal style.

  • Styles can be imported from another workbook using Merge Styles command accessible from bottom right button of the palette.

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