Five sure-fire ways to jazz up your Excel spreadsheet

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest impact, and this is definitely the case when it comes to formatting your Excel spreadsheet.

Following are five sure-fire ways to jazz up your Excel spreadsheet, with the least amount of effort.  Remember to take into consideration the content of your spreadsheet before trying any of these styling tips as some will work better than others depending on your data.

1. Choose your fonts and stick to them

Microsoft understands the value of consistency and it shows.  Like Word and PowerPoint, Excel also has Theme Fonts which let you set a default font for headings and another for your body text.

It makes sense to keep fonts consistent as this ensures your information is easier to navigate.  So from the outset (and across all your communication documents), make it a point to set your fonts and never stray!  Your final documents will always look more cohesive and professional.

2. Personalise your headers and footers

Make your spreadsheet your own by adding your company logo and/or contact details to the header or footer.  In this way, you remind the reader who you are and where the data they’re looking at comes from, reinforcing your brand at the same time.

Make sure you save your worksheet in Page Layout View; otherwise all your customisations will be hidden from view.

3. Convert your data into a table

A spreadsheet can be rather bland to look at, however converting your data into a table will jazz it up in no time.  Using Microsoft’s predefined Table Styles, you can change the colour and style of your table (if desired) with the click of a button.

You can also easily add or remove a Header Row and Total Row, and even change whether your table has banded or un-banded rows.  For me, navigating spreadsheets can be a nightmare when they’re quite detailed, so I find using banded rows really does make a difference.  Try it and see.

4. Promote important cells

Use Microsoft’s predefined Cell Styles to quickly add colour to cells that you want to stand out, as well as to apply heading styles.

Again, text formatting and colour is conditional upon the set Theme Fonts and Theme Colors, which means formatting will remain consistent across your spreadsheet.

5. Hide gridlines

This is quite a simple one, but when I send a spreadsheet to a third party, I don’t necessarily want it looking like one, so I hide Gridlines.  In the same way, you can also hide the Formula Bar and Headings (cell references).  Doing so hides these items from your worksheet, leaving only the Ribbon showing and the focus – that’s right – entirely on your spreadsheet.