All cell content uses the same formatting by default, which can make it difficult to read a workbook with a lot of information. Basic formatting can customize the look and feel of your workbook, allowing you to draw attention to specific sections and making your content easier to view and understand.
Optional: Download our practice workbook.
Watch the video below to learn more about formatting cells in Excel.
You can also use the Increase Font Size and Decrease Font Size commands or enter a custom font size using your keyboard.
By default, the font of each new workbook is set to Calibri. However, Excel provides many other fonts you can use to customize your cell text. In the example below, we'll format our title cell to help distinguish it from the rest of the worksheet.
When creating a workbook in the workplace, you'll want to select a font that is easy to read. Along with Calibri, standard reading fonts include Cambria, Times New Roman, and Arial.
Select More Colors at the bottom of the menu to access additional color options. We've changed the font color to a bright pink.
You can also press Ctrl+B on your keyboard to make selected text bold, Ctrl+I to apply italics, and Ctrl+U to apply an underline.
Cell borders and fill colors allow you to create clear and defined boundaries for different sections of your worksheet. Below, we'll add cell borders and fill color to our header cells to help distinguish them from the rest of the worksheet.
You can draw borders and change the line style and color of borders with the Draw Borders tools at the bottom of the Borders drop-down menu.
Instead of formatting cells manually, you can use Excel's predesigned cell styles. Cell styles are a quick way to include professional formatting for different parts of your workbook, like titles and headers.
In our example, we'll apply a new cell style to our existing title and header cells.
Applying a cell style will replace any existing cell formatting except for text alignment. You may not want to use cell styles if you've already added a lot of formatting to your workbook.
By default, any text entered into your worksheet will be aligned to the bottom-left of a cell, while any numbers will be aligned to the bottom-right. Changing the alignment of your cell content allows you to choose how the content is displayed in any cell, which can make your cell content easier to read.
Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn more about the different text alignment options.
Left Align: Aligns content to the left border of the cell
Center Align: Aligns content an equal distance from the left and right borders of the cell
Right Align: Aligns content to the right border of the cell
Top Align: Aligns content to the top border of the cell
Middle Align: Aligns content an equal distance from the top and bottom borders of the cell
Bottom Align: Aligns content to the bottom border of the cell
In our example below, we'll modify the alignment of our title cell to create a more polished look and further distinguish it from the rest of the worksheet.
You can apply both vertical and horizontal alignment settings to any cell.
If you want to copy formatting from one cell to another, you can use the Format Painter command on the Home tab. When you click the Format Painter, it will copy all of the formatting from the selected cell. You can then click and drag over any cells where you want to paste the formatting.
Watch the video below to learn two different ways to use the Format Painter.