When using \colorbox{color}{text} to put background color for the text in a table, the text with background color seems to take more space and makes the respective cell higher and wider. Is there a way to use \colorbox{color}{text} in a table cell without affecting the dimension of the cell?

1 Answer 1


You need to set the value of \fboxsep to zero to remove the extra margin:


You don't need the outer braces if it is the whole cell, however then I would use the macros of the colortbl or colortab packages. The new tabu package also provides a lot of new features for tables, including a lot of different color features, but it might be an effort to change to this package.

You can also use the adjustbox package for this:


which draws a tight frame as well. It has also an extended syntax which allows to set the rule thickness, inner separation and outer margin:

\adjustbox{cframe=<color> <thickness> <inner sep> <outer margin>}{<text>}

The margin can be negative and if it is -(thickness+inner sep) the original size is kept, e.g.:

\adjustbox{cframe=blue {\fboxrule} {\fboxsep} {-\fboxrule-\fboxsep}}{<text>}

(The { } around the macros are there to preserve the space behind them.)

  • 1
    Works perfectly, thank you very much. I was trying to use colorbl package for highlighting columns of table. However, I am using overlay/transition, and I am not sure how to do it. I may start another question to ask about it later.
    – Li Wang
    Jul 21, 2011 at 8:58
  • 1
    + 1 \adjustbox is a perfect instrument, especially for those who are used to HTML formatting
    – yegor256
    Dec 10, 2012 at 13:26
  • @yegor256: Thanks, I indeed coded it because I missed the power of CSS. Nov 29, 2017 at 13:36
  • 1
    I think it must be -\fboxrule-\fboxsep rather than \fboxrule+\fboxsep. I also tested this. Unfortunately I cannot edit it since changes must be at least 6 characters long.
    – theV0ID
    Dec 3, 2019 at 11:45
  • 1
    @theV0ID: Yes, I originally stated that directly the line before but then made it false myself ;-) I fixed it now. Thanks for reporting it. Dec 6, 2019 at 6:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.