Friday, April 11, 2008

Colors in Excel Services

If you use Excel Services inside of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS), you may run into this little issue: Colors appear correctly when files are opened in Excel on your desktop computer, but charts and graphs turn gray and pink and magenta when viewed inside of SharePoint's Excel Services on the same desktop computer.

This is what it's supposed to look like in Excel and SharePoint:

This is what you see in SharePoint:

The reason you may see the drab colors in example 2 is something so simple that you could kick yourself: The Display settings on the server may be set to 8-bit (256 colors). The solution may be as simple as changing the display settings to b 16-bit or ideally 32-bit.

Microsoft throws this in one of it's online help pages, but you may miss it if you blink.


You should be aware that color quality settings vary on a client and server computer. (From the Control Panel, click Display to open the Display Properties dialog box, and then click the Settings tab.) There are three settings:

  • Highest (32 bit, 4 million colors).
  • Medium (16 bit, 32,000 colors).
  • Lowest (8 bit, 256 colors).

The color quality can make a difference in the clarity of the chart, especially if the colors that are used are not distinct enough for the user's current display setting. Because the chart image is created on the server computer, the setting on the server computer can limit the colors displayed in the chart, regardless of the color setting on the client computer.

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I'd suggest you use 16-bit or 32-bit for the best results.