Quick Excel Formatting Tips: Best Practices for Easy Use

December 11, 2013 Excel  No comments

With Excel, you can use formatting tools to make your worksheets look better and keep your data organized. Check out these quick Excel formatting tips and tricks to make use of all the formatting features Excel has to offer.

Freezing Column Headings

When you’re working with a long excel document, you want to see what your column headings are so that you don’t have to keep scrolling up or make a mistake. To make this easy, freeze the column headings, this will always keep your first row with the headings at the top of the columns regardless of how far down you scroll. To set this, click on “View” on the tool bar, and then select “Freeze Panes.” Click on the “Freeze Top Row” option.

Quick Tips For Adjusting Columns and Rows

  • To quickly insert a column or row, select the row or column by clicking on a corresponding cell, then click “Ctrl” and  “+”
  • To quickly delete a column or row, select the row or column by clicking on a corresponding cell, then click “Ctrl” and “-”
  • Autofit makes the columns big enough to fit their contents. To do this, select the column(s) that you want to change, then click on the “Format” icon on the tool bar and select “AutoFit Column Width.”
  • Another way to adjust the column size is to fit it to the text you enter. To do this, first enter your text, then double click the separating line between that column and the column to the right of it. The column will enlarge to fit the text.

Key Board Short Cuts

  • “Ctrl” + “b” à Bold
  • “Ctrl” + “i” à Italic
  • “Ctrl” +” u” à Underline

·         “Alt” + “=” à Auto Sum

Formula Tricks

To copy a formula down the length of a column, click on the cell with the formula. Then, put your cursor in the bottom right corner of the cell until you get the thick, black plus sign, you can either drag the formula down or double click and the formula will be copied down the length of the column. However, keep in mind that this will adjust the formula in each row to correspond to the data, in the same row as the formula. So, if you have a value that will stay the same in each formula you must add “$” before the letter and in between the letter and the number of the cell you want to keep the same (for example, $A$1

Formatting Macros

To create formatting macros, first select the cells that you want to format. Then go to the “View” tab on the tool bar. Click on “Macros,” then select “Record Macros.” You will be prompted to name and provide a description of the macro. This could be useful in a spreadsheet where you are using multiple macros. Record the keystrokes to format the cells that you have selected. When you’re finished go back to “Macros” and select “Stop Recording.” To use the macros you recorded, go to “Macros” and select “View Macros.” You will get a list of all the macros you recorded. Select the one you want to run and then click “Run.”

We here are Desktop Training Academy (DTA) are committed to providing you with solutions to use your Office features efficiently so you can focus on your work. We hope you found these quick Excel formatting tips useful.  If you would like to learn more on Excel, or other MS Office applications, subscribe to our blog to receive weekly updates and other free materials. If you are looking for instructor-led material to truly master Excel features, check out our upcoming Live Trainings and Excel Certificate Program.

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Vince – Desktop Training Academy

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