How to Make Excel Spreadsheets Look Good

by Foye Robinson

Excel helps you display, arrange and analyze vast amounts of data. Formatting your spreadsheet makes it visually appealing and easier to read. Although Excel includes a number of formatting options, it's best to minimize the number of fonts, colors, styles and graphics within your worksheet. You can apply consistent fonts, colors and styles for headings, subtotals and totals, to make them stand out, but remain clean. Spacing also improves the overall look of cells and charts on your spreadsheet.


Click the "Select All" button to the top, left corner of your spreadsheet, beside the "A" column header to highlight the entire spreadsheet. Use themes to apply uniform colors, fonts and effects to your spreadsheet quickly. Go to the "Page Layout" tab and "Themes" group. Select "Themes" and the theme set you want to apply.


Highlight section headings and totals on your spreadsheet. To add borders, right-click on the selection and choose "Format Cells" from the pop-up. Click the "Border" tab in the Format Cells dialog box and pick a line style and color. To change the background color of cells, click the "Fill" tab, pick a background color and click "OK."


Click the row header to select a row or the column header to select a column that contains values. Right-click the selection and choose "Format Cells" from the pop-up. The Format Cells dialog box opens. Click the "Number" tab, pick the formatting you want to apply and press "OK."


Select any cells you want to align. Right alignment works well on cells that include numbers. To right align the selected cells, go to the "Home" tab and "Alignment" group and click the "Align Text Right" button ("Ctrl" and "R"). To center headings on your spreadsheet, select the cells and press "Ctrl" and "E" to center them.


Highlight headings on your spreadsheet to color the text. Go to the "Home" tab and "Styles" group. Click "Cell Styles" and choose a style. For additional colors, go to the "Home" tab and "Font" group. Click the "Font Color" button and select "More Colors" from the bottom of the list. Pick a color in the "Colors" dialog box and click "OK."


Select any cells that require more spacing. To adjust a cell's height, right-click the row heading and select "Row height" from the fly-out menu. Enter a value into the "Row Height" text field in the dialog box that opens. To adjust the width, right-click the column heading and select "Column Width" from the fly-out menu. Then enter a value into the "Column width" text field in the dialog box that opens. Alternatively, double-click the dividing bar between the column headings. It will expand to fit the largest text or value in that column.


Increase the spacing between your charts and data. To move a chart, grab its sizing handle (the box surrounding the chart) and drag it beside the data it's analyzing. To resize the chart, grab a corner of the sizing handle and push it inward to shrink it or outward to enlarge it.

About the Author

Foye Robinson is a freelance writer and Web designer with Precision Web Crafting. She shares her love for family/relationships, fitness and Web design in her writing. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Webster University and also writes miscellaneous articles and novels.

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