Microsoft Excel XP Tutorial

Section Learning Goals

In this section, you will learn:

  • How to format cells
  • Formatting numbers
  • Changing the appearance of cells
  • How to apply borders and shading
  • Using the format painter

Formatting Cells

Formatting Numbers

Numbers in Excel can be formatted in a variety of ways: as whole numbers, as decimals, as percentages, and even as currency. By default, numbers use the General format-this displays numbers exactly as you enter them (although Excel rounds the numbers using decimals or scientific notation if the cells are too narrow to accommodate what you’ve entered).

To apply a different number format to the contents of a cell:

  1. Select the cell.

  1. From the Format menu, select Cells.

The Format Cells dialog opens.

3. Select the Number tab.

  1. All the available number formats are listed under Category. Select a category, such as Currency.

  1. Formatting options for that category appear on the right side of the dialog. Select the options you want, such as the number of decimal places to use.
  2. Click OK.
  3. The formatting is applied to the selected cell (or range of cells).

Note:

It isn’t necessary to apply formatting to basic date and time entries. When you separate numbers with a slash (/) or a hyphen (), Excel interprets the number as a date. You can also enter a time, such as 12:00, followed by an a or a p to indicate morning or evening (for example, 12:00 p). If you don’t specify morning or evening, Excel assumes the default a (morning).

Changing the Appearance of Cells

Use the Formatting toolbar to apply basic formatting to cells, such as font face, size, color, bold or italics:

  1. Select the cell you want to format. Alternatively, you can select the contents of the cell, or a part of the contents, by double-clicking inside the cell and highlighting the contents you want to format (or selecting the contents in the formula bar).

  1. Use the buttons and drop-down menus on the Formatting toolbar to apply formatting. For example:
    1. Select a new size from the Font Size drop-down menu.

The font size is applied to the contents of the cell.

    1. Next, click the Bold button to apply bold formatting.

c. Use the color picker to apply a color to the contents of the cell.

For example, select the red swatch to make the text in the cell red.

Additional font options are available in the Format Cells dialog:

1. Select the cell whose contents you want to format.

2. From the Format menu, select Cells. You can also right-click the cell (or range of cells) and select Format Cells from the shortcut menu.

The Format Cells dialog opens.

3. Select the Font tab.

Here, you can see a sample of the options you select in the Preview pane.

You can also use the Format Cells dialog to change the alignment and orientation of the contents of cells. For example, you can rotate the contents of cells containing your column headings:

1. Select the cell whose contents you want to rotate.

2. From the Format menu, select Cells.

The Format Cells dialog opens.

3. Select the Alignment tab.

4. To change the orientation of your cell’s contents, enter a new orientation, in degrees, into the Degrees field. You can also click and drag
the red point in the text pane to a new location indicating the orientation you want. The number in the Degrees field changes as you drag the pointer.

5. Click OK to apply the changes.

Applying Borders and Shading

To apply a simple border to a cell (or range of cells), use the Borders button on the Formatting toolbar:

  1. Select the cell(s) you want to apply a border to.

  1. On the Formatting toolbar, click the arrow next to the Borders button to view available border styles.

  1. Select a border style to apply it to your cell(s). For example, select Outside Borders to place a border around the outside of a range of cells.

The border appears only around the outside of the range; no border appears between the individual cells.

To apply borders to each of the cells, choose All Borders instead.

Notice that the borders are rotated to match the orientation that was applied to the cell contents.

Additional line styles are available in the Format Cells dialog:

  1. With your cells selected, select Cells from the Format menu.

The Format Cells dialog opens.

  1. Select the Border tab.

  1. Under Style, select a line style. You can also select a color for the border using the Color drop-down menu.
  2. Click OK to apply the border.

Similarly, you can apply a fill color to cells using the Fill Color button on the Formatting toolbar:

  1. Select the cells.
  2. On the Formatting toolbar, click the arrow next to the Fill Color button and select a color swatch.

The color is applied to the selected cells.

To apply a pattern to the cells, use the Format Cells dialog:

  1. Select the cells.
  2. Select Cells from the Format menu.

The Format Cells dialog opens.

  1. Select the Patterns tab.

  1. The swatches under Color let you choose a fill color for the cells, just as the Fill Color button on the Formatting toolbar does. If necessary, select a fill color.
  2. Select a pattern from the Pattern drop-down menu. The patterns are shown in swatches above the color swatches.

  1. You can apply a color to the pattern by selecting one of the color swatches from the menu. If you don’t select a color, the pattern will be black (for example, black dots).
  2. Click OK to apply the pattern to the cells.

Using Format Painter

You can quickly copy formatting from one cell to another using the Format Painter:

  1. Select a cell containing the format you want to copy.

  1. Click the Format Painter button on the Standard toolbar.

A blinking dashed border appears around the cell whose format is being copied.

  1. Select the cell you want to apply the formatting to.

The formatting of the original cell is copied to the new cell.

Section Review

In this section, you learned:

  • How to format cells
  • Formatting numbers
  • Changing the appearance of cells
  • How to apply borders and shading
  • Using the format painter

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