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Tip of the Week: Handy Tricks to Format Excel Spreadsheets

Tip of the Week: Handy Tricks to Format Excel Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel is, for many, the de facto spreadsheet-creation software. However, fewer know about its useful formatting capabilities and shortcuts. To help you make your own Excel sheets more comprehensible, we’re sharing some tips to help you format your documents.

Fast Table Format

When you have a data set that outlines different related data points, using a table is one of the best ways to review it, as the table allows you to reorganize and filter the data it includes. If your data is already in a spreadsheet, you can quickly create a table by selecting a cell and pressing Ctrl + T, and then pressing Enter.

Excel Formatting Shortcuts

Of course, when you’re hard at work on a spreadsheet, you don’t want to spend too much time playing with a whole lot of nitty-gritty formatting, but this kind of formatting could potentially make your spreadsheet that much more easy to understand.

In addition to the familiar Ctrl + B for bold, Ctrl + I for italics, and Ctrl + U for underline, Excel offers plenty of other shortcuts to help you format your sheets. For instance, pressing Ctrl + 5 when text is selected will mark that text with a strike through, while pressing Ctrl + 1 with anything highlighted will bring up a format dialog box for that selection. Pressing F4 will repeat the last action, which is handy if you want to apply specific formatting to certain cells.

Icon Sets

Adding icons to your cells can help provide some context at a glance, and it is simple to do. With the cells you intend to accentuate highlighted, click on Conditional Formatting (which can be found under the Home tab). You will see an option for Icon Sets, where you can select the icon set that best suits your needs.

In fact, these icons are preconfigured to differentiate between certain data ranges. For instance, if you were to pick the option with three arrows, the downward arrow represents when your data is in the lower 33 percent, the sideways arrow the middle 33 percent, and the upward arrow the top 33 percent. These numbers shift with the number of icons you have available, divvying up evenly.

What Excel formatting tricks do you know? Share them with us in the comments!

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