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Getting Started With Excel

 Self-Paced Overview

Formatting the Worksheet

There are many formatting tools that can be used to enhance the appearance of a worksheet and make it more readable. Headings are better defined when they are in bold text and dollar amounts are better understood when they reflect a standard currency convention.

Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel

In our illustration we have made row 1 the heading row. To better distinguish it, we have made the contents of each cell bold by selecting each cell and clicking on the Bold font style button B located in the Font group on the Home tab of the Ribbon. A bottom border can also be added using the Borders style button in the Font group.

When first entering text into the heading cells, you may notice that the headings do not appear entirely. This is because, by default, columns might be too narrow to display the full text of the heading. To widen columns:

Microsoft Excel
  • Select the entire column by clicking on the worksheet column heading. For example, if we want to select column B, click on B at the top of the column. This will select the entire column.
  • Once the column is selected, click Format in the Cells group on the Home tab, then select Column Width... The Column Width dialog box will appear, from which you can enter a new width for the column.

In the illustration above, column E (Total Assets Turnover) is the best example of the need to increase the column width.

Next, when entering number values into cells, it is best to enter the "plain" number and then format the cell to reflect the appropriate purpose of the number. For example, when entering a column of dollar amounts such as column B (Net Income) in our illustration, enter the simple numbers 80000, 78900, 67800, etc. After entering all of the numbers:

Microsoft Excel
  • Select the cells to be formatted by clicking on the first cell in the column that you want formatted, in this case B2, hold down the mouse button, and drag through all of the cells that are to be selected (B3...B6). You will notice a heavy border around the cells included in the selection.
  • With the cells to be formatted all selected, click the arrow in the format dropdown box in the Number group on the Home tab. (The default option is General.) You'll notice a list of format types appear. Select Currency. Each of the cells included in the selection are now formatted to the currency format, or $80,000.00.
Microsoft Excel

In our example we formatted the numbers as currency. By clicking the small arrow on the lower right corner of the Number group, you will notice the Format Cells dialog box. From here you have greater formatting options, including the number of decimal places and the appearance of negative numbers.

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