Formatting your Workbook

Though it is not completely necessary, formatting your workbook is usually a good practice. Most cases you don’t need extensive formatting. Just a little formatting in a matter of seconds can make your workbooks much more appealing and easy to understand.

In this post I’m going to give an overview of Excel’s formatting tools. After reading this post you will be able to use formatting tools and format your workbook pretty easily.

Using Themes:

Themes menu is located in Page Layout Ribbon. Themes menu consists of 4 buttons, themes, colors, fonts and effects. Colors changes your color palette settings and gives you a different set of colors to use. Fonts changes your font settings globally. Effects changes how your shapes are going to be displayed. Themes are formatting packs includes color, font and effect configurations together. Be aware that any selection you make in this menu will apply to all sheets of current workbook.

Using Home Ribbon Formatting Tools:


As the mane states, options for cell fonts and fill can be found in this menu. You can set fill color for the cells you select, you can set font type, size, color, boldness, etc. from this menu. Changes you made only effects cells that are selected by the time of change.


From this menu, you can set allignmet options for cell contents. Again changes you made only effects cells that are selected by the time of change. You can set vertical,horizontal and angled alignment of your cell contents, wrap text (more than one line of text in a cell) and can merge cells for more content space.


This is where you set how do you like your numbers to be displayed. There are alot of preset number display formats for your use. You can also quickly set your numbers as currency, percentage or increase/decrease decimals.

Conditional Formatting:

Conditional formattinf lets you arrange your cell formatting to dynamically change based on certain conditions. This tool is very usefull and very loved by all excel users. You may find detail information about conditional formatting in here.

Format as Table:

With this option you can format any list you have with preset table formats. It means tou will get header formatting (fill/font color), values formatting (fill/font color) and general table formatting (borders/zebra lines). This is a nica option instead of setting all these manually one by one.


As seen in the screenshot, styles are preset formattion options for your cells. Select the cells you want to apply a style and select one from the dropdown menu. Selected style will be applied to all selected cells.

Using View Ribbon Tools:


Show menu is located under View Ribbon. Though tools in this ribbon are mostly about viewing the workbook, show options worth mentioning here.

From this menu, you can set whether formula bar, gridlines and column/row headings to be displayed or not. This options comes handy when you are going to present your work. Removing gridlines and header (also formula bar) will make your workbook look like a report rather than a work enviroment.

Format Cells:


At the end there is format cell window. You can open this window by selecting any cell or range of cells and selecting Format Cells option from right-click menu (or simply pressing Crtl+1). Format cells window houses all above options on itself. So you can make all the formatting you want from one source.

Formatting Columns and Rows:

You can change width of columns and height of rows by left-clickling on the line between that column/row and the one after it, and dragging your mouse. You will see width/height info of selected column/row in pixels while clicked.  You can resize columns/rows individually or you can select multiple columns/rows and resize them all at once.

You can also hide/unhide your columns and rows. To do this, right-click on the header of column/row you want to hide and select hide option. To unhide it, select previous and next column/row of hidden one, right-click and select unhide option.

An importan thing to know here is, if you hide all columns after a certain one, above methode of unhiding will not work. This time you have to select all columns (by pressing Crtl+A or clicking on the box at the intersection point of columns and rows) and resize just a little. This action will make all columns visible. This limitation and method is also works for rows.

You can also hide/unhide your sheets. Hiding is same as columns and rows. Just right-click and select hide from menu. To unhide, right-click on any sheet name and select unhide from menu.

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