Related tutorial: Excel 2007 / 2010 AutoFormat Tutorial.
Formatting Spreadsheets using AutoFormat
Spreadsheets usually contain a lot of data. This can make it difficult, if not impossible for users to find the information they are looking for. Formatting a spreadsheet effectively can change that. A good choice of background color, font style and font size, plus other formatting options can make the most important information on the spreadsheet stand out from the rest of the data.
If you are new to Excel, and not yet comfortable with all the formatting options available, you can use the AutoFormat option to give your spreadsheets a professional look and make them easy to read.
There are 17 AutoFormat styles available. These styles affect six main formatting areas: number formatting, borders, fonts, patterns and background color, alignment, and column and row size.
Choose an Appropriate Style
Not all the styles are appropriate for all spreadsheets. Keep in mind how the spreadsheet will be used when selecting an AutoFormat style:
- Printed off and given to the audience as a hand out.
- Used solely in a slide show presentation.
- Emailed to just a few associates.
If none of the styles are quite to your liking, you can modify them either before or after they have been applied to your worksheet. To modify a style before applying it, click on the options button in the AutoFormat dialog box. Doing so, will allow you to deselect any of the six formatting areas such as font, borders, or alignment before applying the style. The spreadsheet example in the dialog box will show you what the style will look like with the different options deselected.
Fine-Tune Your Style Choice
Once you have applied a style you can modify it further using Excel’s regular formatting options located under the Format menu and on the formatting toolbar. Many people use the AutoFormat options as a starting point and then use the regular formatting options to fine-tune their selection so that it meets their needs exactly.
To apply an AutoFormat style to your worksheet
- Select only the data on the worksheet that you want formatted.
- Choose Format > AutoFormat from the menus to bring up the AutoFormat dialog box.
- Scroll through the list of styles.
- Click on the one you want to use.
- Click OK.