Make Your Worksheets Look Great

Microsoft Excel is a handy tool for recording lists of items. Simply type your column headings and then type one item in each cell. The list will look neat and you will be able to see the items in it very clearly. Once you’ve typed your data, why not format the text to make the list look attractive and more easily read? Here we will show you some tips and tricks for formatting text in Microsoft Excel.

To make dates more easily understood you can format them so the month is spelled out. To do this drag over the date cells to select them, right click and choose Format Cells > Number tab. Select the Date option and, on the right, choose a format such as 14-Mar-12 which will format the date so it shows the abbreviated month name.

To format numbers that are currency select the cells containing the numbers and click the currency icon on the Home tab of the Ribbon (the currency symbol should represent the currency you use). If the currency is incorrect, click the down pointing arrow to the immediate right of the currency symbol, and choose More Accounting Formats. When the Format Cells dialog appears, you can select the correct currency to use. Here too you can set how many decimal places should show – typically this will be zero or 2.

To format the column headings select these headings cells and click the Cell Styles dropdown list on the Ribbon. You can use any of these cell styles for your heading so click one that looks good to you and it will be applied to the selected cells.

If you have titled your list you can make it appear centered across the list. To do this, select the cell containing the title and all the cells to its right that span your list. From the Alignment group of buttons on the Ribbon click the Merge and Center button. This merges the cells you selected and centers the text.

Now you can select a style for your title from the Cell Styles dropdown list as you did for the column headings. To enlarge the title text, select the text and click the Increase Font Size button on the Home tab of the Ribbon. You may also want to click the Bold button to make your title stand out.

One fun technique involves changing the formatting of text within a cell. To do this, click on a cell that contains text and select only part of the text in that cell. Now choose a format for that text – for example, click the Bold or Italic button on the Ribbon. You can also change the Font or choose a different Font Color for this text.