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Cell formatting to make Excel 2010 spreadsheets look professional

Microsoft Excel 2010 is great for working with calculations, statistics and large volumes of data. Looking through lots of information can be a little dry or hard on the eyes.

In this article, we'll look at the Format Cells dialog box to explore a few ways to quickly make your spreadsheets look more professional and easier to navigate.

Before you can format parts of your spreadsheet, you need to select the cells you want to work with. Click and drag the mouse across the cells that require formatting so that all the cells to be formatted are highlighted.

Once your cells are selected, right-click the mouse and a menu will appear. This menu offers different options for working with the selected cells. Choosing Format Cells towards the bottom of that menu will bring up the Format Cells dialogue box. The dialogue box has different tabs at the top for the different kinds of cell formatting. For example, the Alignment tab manages how your data will appear in a cell.

Creating Table Borders

To add a border to the selected cell, select the Border tab to bring up a picture which represents the cells you're working with. Click that picture to add or remove a border from the edges of your selected cells, or choose from one of the preset options. Colour, border thickness, line style and which areas are outlined can all be changed.

The Fill tab can be used to fill in cells with solid or transparent colour, andFont changes the type or size of font and lets you apply Bold, Italic, Underline and other textual formats.

Changing Number Formats

The Number tab controls how numbers are displayed. When you select the Number tab, a list of number types such as currency, date, and percentage will appear. When you select one of these types, more detailed options will display. For example, when you select Currency, you can choose for all numbers to be displayed with the £ symbol.

Spreadsheets can quickly fill up with masses of data, so hopefully this intro to using the Format Cells dialog box will help you quickly improve the appearance of your spreadsheets and make them easier to navigate and analyse.