Excel online training course

excel lesson 7, Formatting worksheets

Formatting tools

Excel provides you with two tools which can help you format your worksheets.
The first tool is the formatting toolbar:

This contains buttons which alow us to format text and numbers, align the information in the cells, merge cells and change the color of the fonts and background in the cells.
To use these buttons, we select the cell, or the range of the cells, and we click on the designated button.

Please note that this toolbar is divided into six sections.

1. The first section we use for formatting the fonttype and fontsize.
2. The second section is used for font formatting: bold, italic and underscore.
3. The third second contains buttons for aligning: left, right, middle and joining cells.
4. The fourth section contains buttons we use for formatting our numbers: currency, percentage, comma, increase and decrease decimals.
5. The fifth section is used to increase or decrease the indent of our text.
6. The last section contains buttons for borders, fill and textcolor which we can use to set the colors for the cells and their borders.

Some buttons have a black arrow next to them, when we click on this arrow a dropdown menu will open where we can make a more detailed choice of the correspondent option.

Format cells window

The second tool we can use for formatting cells is the format cells window.

In this window we can specify the formatting of the cell even more.
While the options in our formatting toolbar are limited we have all of the formatting options at our disposal in this window.
In the format cells window we can find six tabs to change our cell properties.
The sixth tab "Protection" has no influence on the formatting of our cells so it will not be discussed here but in a later lesson.
The first five tabs are: Number, Alignment, Font, Border and Patterns.

To use this to format, we select some cell(s), right click it and choose "Format Cells" from the dropdown menu, or we click "Format" and "Cells" from the menubar.
Once the window has opened, we click on the tab that has the format options we want to apply, choose the changes we want to apply and then click on "Ok".
Let us look at the different tabs more closely.

The number tab

The number tab is used to format numbers in the cells we have selected.
When we look at the different categories by selecting them in the left side of the window, we can see a small description at the bottom and also a example on the top of the screen.

When we set a number formatting through our formatting toolbar, we can adjust this here or remove it through this tab.
First you select the cell(s), open the cell properties window, choose "General" and click on "Ok".

The alignment tab

In this tab we can set the vertical and horizontal alignment, merge cells, control the text, set the text direction and orientation.
Select the formatting you would like to use and click "Ok".

In Excell 2003 and XP we also have to possibility to set the text direction.
In some languages like Arabic they write from right to left.
Excel now also gives us the option to print from right to left.
This is not used alot but i thought it would be important enough to mention.

When you wish to disconnect merged cells, you first select the cell, open this window, click on the box "Merge Cells" to split the cells again and then click "Ok".

The fonttype tab

In this tab we can control all fonttype options, even adding special effects.
We use the fonttype dropdown menu to choose the fonttype.
We use the fontstyle to set the style, bold, italic, etc..
We use the dropdown menu size to set the size of our font.
We can choose a style for the underline.
We use the color dropdown menu to set the color of the font.
And in the effects section we control the Strikethrough, Superscript or Subscript.
There is a preview window to see our settings before we apply them to our cell(s).

When the settings satisfy your demands you can click on "Ok".

The border tab

In this tab we change the settings of our borders for the selected cell(s).
We can choose preset borders in the top part of this window.
We can choose the style and colors of our borders.
Or we click on "None" if we dont want to use borders.
When you are done here click on "Ok".

The patterns tab

In this tab we set the fill color and/or the pattern of the cell(s).
Choose a color for your selected cell(s), or choose a pattern in th dropdown menu "Pattern" including a color and click on "Ok".
Be aware that when you choose a pattern for cells which also keep data, these will become difficult to read.
Actually you only use patterns for the cells which dont contain any information.

Remove all formatting in cells

We can remove all formatting settings of one or multiple cell(s) by selecting and clicking on "Edit", "Clear" and "Formats" in our menubar.

Copy all formatting in a cell to other cell(s)

We have the possibility to copy only the formatting of our cell(s).
To do this we first select the cell from which we want to copy the formatting.
We click on the button "Format Painter" excell_small_16.jpg (1.369 bytes) in the standard toolbar.
Then we click and drag over the cell(s) where we want to paste our formatting.

Release the mousebutton and your done !