12. Formatting Cells Part 1


Everyone wants great-looking spreadsheets, but we often don't know how to create them quickly and effectively. Learn how to do so in this lesson.

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  1. Adjusting Cell Formatting (00:19)

    Cell formatting lets you adjust the font, fill, order and alignment of a cell and its text. Various ribbon shortcuts can be used to format cells. Alt, H, F, S lets you change the font size of the selected cell, while Alt, H, F, C lets you change the font color.

    You can change the text style using the commands Ctrl + B for bold, Ctrl + I for italics, and Ctrl + U to underline. Alt H, H lets you change the background color of a cell. When formatting multiple cells, you may want to format a single cell first, then copy and paste formats. Alternatively, you can use the Format Painter. You can select this with Alt H, FP. The Format Painter applies the formatting of the selected cell to any subsequent cells you select.

  2. Borders and Gridlines (02:10)

    Cell borders are a commonly used formatting tool. To create borders, select the range of cells you want to create a border round, then press Alt, H, B to see the various border options. To remove a border, select the cells, then press Ctrl + Shift + - to remove it.
    Gridlines appear by default in Excel. To remove them, the shortcut is Alt, W, V, G. To restore the gridlines, simply repeat the command.


In the previous lesson we learned how to format numbers in Excel. In this lesson we'll learn how to format the cells on an Excel sheet, including the font, fill, format, and alignment of a cell. In addition to number formatting, we also have cell formatting which enables you to change the font, fill, order, and alignment within a cell. The fastest way to format cells in Excel is to use the ribbon shortcuts. If I press Alt + H, I can access a range of shortcuts in the font section of the ribbon.

Let's start by changing the text in the selected cell. If I press FS and change the font size to say 15, this increases the size of the font within the cell. I can also change the font color in the ribbon by pressing Alt + H FC and then select my chosen color within the dropdown.

Style commands such as bold, italic, and underline can also be accessed in the ribbon, but for these commands I tend to use the traditional shortcuts common to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Control + B to bold text, Control + I to add italics, and Control + U to underline. To remove these styles, just repeat the commands, Control+ B, Control + I, and Control + U.

Often we'll want to format the top row of column names in a different format to the row entries. In this example, I'm going to give the top row of cells a blue fill.

So in my selected cell, I'll press Alt + H H to bring up the fill dropdown and select a dark blue color.

I clearly need to change the text color so that it can be seen.

Alt + H FC and I'll select white, which is much more readable. And lastly, I'll change the size of the text and bring it back to 11.

Once I'm happy with this format, I'll copy with Control + C, select the row with Shift + Spacebar and then paste formats with Alt + E ST.

The next formatting topic I want to show you are cell borders.

First select the cells you wish to put the border around. In this case, I want to select the top five Orders.

Next, press Alt + H B to bring up the border drop down and I'll select S for outside borders.

As you can see, this supplies a border around the top five rows.

To remove the border, select the cells again and Control + Shift + Minus. And this removes the border around all of the selected cells.

In addition to adding borders, you can also change the grid lines that appear on a spreadsheet.

Unlike borders, grid lines don't appear when you print your spreadsheet, but they are present by default when you're using Excel. Some users prefer to remove the grid lines and to do this, simply go to the view tab, Alt + W and then VG to remove grid lines.

If you press the shortcut again, the grid lines reappear. Grid lines are very much a personal preference so I'll leave it up to you to decide on this setting.

In this lesson, I've covered the most common formatting actions you'll perform in Excel. However, if you'd like to explore additional formatting commands just press Control + 1 to bring up the Format Cells dialogue box and using the arrows cycle through the various formatting tabs which will show Excel's full list of formatting options.