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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Formatting Cell Appearance

Formatting cell values is important, because it helps maintain consistency among your numbers. But to really make your spreadsheet readable (and even beautiful), you'll need to enlist some of Excel's tools for controlling things like alignment, color, and borders and shading.

You can format a cell's appearance in two ways. You can find the button you need on the Home tab of the ribbon, or you can go back to the more comprehensive Format Cells dialog box. Just select the single cell or group of cells that you want to work with, and then choose Home→Cells→Format→Format Cells. Or, right-click the selection, and then choose Format Cells. The following sections walk you through the options in the Format Cells dialog box.

Tip

Even a small amount of formatting can make a worksheet easier to interpret by drawing the viewer's eye to important information. Of course, as with formatting a Word document or designing a web page, a little goes a long way. Don't feel the need to bury your worksheet in exotic colors and styles just because you can.

Alignment and Orientation

As you learned in the previous chapter, Excel automatically aligns cells according to the type of information you've entered. But what if this automatic alignment isn't what you want? Fortunately, in the Format Cells dialog box, the Alignment tab lets you easily change alignment as well as control some other interesting settings, like the ability to rotate text.

Excel lets you control the position of content ...

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