How to Apply Sunken Cell Effects in Microsoft Excel

By Ryan Menezes

Plug-ins for Microsoft Excel can make individual cells look sunken, but you can use the program's own native tools to apply this effect. Borders and shading can make an individual cell look like a depressed and activated button. Sunken cells can emulate actual buttons when you use Excel to create mock-ups of spreadsheet or program layouts. If you want to include actual buttons, which sink or rise when you click them, you can insert buttons using the program's Developer tab.

Step 1

Drag your mouse cursor over a cell and its surrounding cells to select them.

Step 2

Click the "Fill Color" icon in the Home ribbon's Font group, and click a neutral color, such as dark gray.

Step 3

Right-click a single cell and click "Format Cells" to open the Format Cells dialog box.

Step 4

Click the dialog box's "Border" tab, and click the "Color" drop-down box. Click the color labeled "Black, Text 1, Lighter 50%."

Step 5

Click the icons for the cells' upper and left borders to apply two borders to the cell.

Step 6

Click the dialog box's "Border" tab, and click the "Color" drop-down box again. Click the white square.

Step 7

Click the icons for the cells' lower and right borders to apply two more borders to the cell.

Click "OK" to apply the sunken cell effect to the cell.