Professional Presentations with Excel: Tips for the Best Visuals

April 30, 2014 Excel  No comments

Excel is a great way to present your data, but you need to ensure that your spreadsheet looks professional and presentation-ready. With formatting features and a few other tricks, you can easily create professional presentations with Excel.

Formatting Your Columns and Rows

 Your rows and columns are very important, because they are going to hold all of your information. It’s very important to have clear column and row headers, so that viewers can easily understand what each piece of data is meant to represent. Column headers should be across the first row, while the row headers should be down the first column. If you are creating a long list of data, a good idea might be to freeze the row or column with your headers in it, so that you continue to see them even as you scroll further down your list of data. To freeze the top row or first column, go to the “View” tab and click on the “Freeze Panes” button. From the drop down menu, you can select to either freeze the top row or first column. Another tip as far as formatting your columns and rows is to not leave any rows or columns blank, because that could cause problems when you sort and filter your data. It also takes away from the important information, so you should be sure to only include the important information.

Formatting Your Data

 You can use formatting tools to make your entire spreadsheet look consistent. To format your data, highlight the data that you want to format and right click. Select “Format Cells” and the Format Cells dialog box will open. From there you’ll have several options. Under the “Number” tab, you can pick from a few different categories including number, currency, time, date, percentage, fraction, etc. You’ll have options like choosing how many decimal places, if you want to use a comma as a separator between 1000s and what type of symbol you want to use.

Under the “Alignment” tab, you can choose the alignment of your text. You can also choose to wrap your text, shrink your text to fit, or merge cells. Under the “Font” tab, you can make the font, size, and color of your text uniform.

 Finishing Touches

Finishing touches like fills and borders can help pull your data together. Fills can be used to highlight similar data in the same color or highlight certain data that you want to emphasizes. To do this, highlight the cells that you want to fill in. On the “Home” tab, in the “Paragraph” area, click on the paint bucket and from the drop-down menu, and select the color that you want. To add borders, highlight your data, then go to the “Home” tab and under the “Paragraph” tab, click on the little grid icon and from the drop-down men, select the type of border that you want around your data.

 Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + F: Finds a value that you search
  • Ctrl + G: Goes to the value that you search
  • Ctrl + Shift + +: Inserts a row or column
  • Ctrl + -: Deletes a row or column
  • Ctrl + B: Makes the text bold
  • Ctrl + I: Italicizes the text
  • Ctrl + U: Underlines the text

 We here at DTA hope you now feel confident in your ability to create professional presentations with Excel. It is our desire to bring you the best advice possible to effectively and efficiently use your desktop features so you can focus on your work. Subscribe to our blog to receive weekly Desktop tips. If you’re looking for more in-depth training check out our upcoming instructor-led, live online trainings.

Liked these Excel Database tips? Have questions? Leave your comments below; we’d love to hear from you.

Getting Social with Excel: Spread the word and share the knowledge!

Kevin – Desktop Training Academy

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