Give your Data a Makeover!! Learn All about Excel Data Formatting

Working with data all day long in Excel could be boring. Sometimes, there is no alternative to it, however, you can still bring in some colors and zing to it by using Excel features to format the data. Excel data formatting can increase its readability tremendously.

Accessing Excel Data Formatting Options

Here are the formatting features that can be quickly accessed through the Excel Ribbon.

Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Ribbon Excel

Suppose you have the data as shown below:
Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Excel Raw Data

With some simple data formatting steps, the data can look like a beauty queen. Here are some of the formats that can increase the readability:

  • Give a border
  • Make the headers Font Bold
  • Give a cell color to headers
  • Center Align the Headers

All these options can be quickly accessed through the Excel ribbon. Once formatted, the data would look something as shown below:
Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Excel Formatted Data

While the basic and most used data formatting tools can be accessed through Excel ribbon, there is much more to it. You can access the entire formatting range of options through the Format Cells dialogue box. It appears when you click on the  Cell Format Dialogue Box Excel icon at the bottom right of each category in Excel Ribbon. The keyboard shortcut is Control + 1.
Excel Data Formatting - Format Cell Dialogue Box Excel

The Format Cell dialogue box is one-stop shop for all data formatting in Excel. It has the following options:

  • Number: This gives you the access to number formatting in Excel. It is a whole new world in itself. Read more about it here.
  • Alignment: Text alignment in Excel can be controlled through this option. One good option worth mentioning here is center across selection.
    • Center across Selection in Horizontal alignment. This should always be preferred over merge and center. Merge and center can create issues while filtering and sorting, but this option presents no such issue.
      Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Alignment
  • Font: Entire font related formatting, including additional options of Strikethrough, Superscript and Subscript can be accessed here.
    Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Font
  • Border: All border styles and its color can be controlled here.
    Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Border
  • Fill: All cell fill options.
    Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Fill
  • Protection: Cells can be locked or hidden through this option.
    Excel Data Formatting - Data Formatting Protection
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