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
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    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.
    – kostrykin
    Dec 3, 2019 at 11:45
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    @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

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