Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Cell Formatting
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Cell Formatting
Excel provides two types of cell formatting — numeric formatting and stylistic formatting.
Numeric formatting
Numeric formatting refers to how a value appears in the cell. In addition to choosing from an
extensive list of predefined formats, you can create your own custom number formats in the
Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box. (Choose the dialog box launcher at the bottom of the
Home
Number group.)
Excel applies some numeric formatting automatically, based on the entry. For example, if you
precede a value with your local currency symbol (such as a dollar sign), Excel applies Currency
number formatting. If you append a percent symbol, Excel applies Percent formatting.
Refer to Appendix B for additional information about creating custom number formats.
The number format doesn’t affect the actual value stored in the cell. For example, suppose that a
cell contains the value 3.14159. If you apply a format to display two decimal places, the number
appears as 3.14. When you use the cell in a formula, however, the actual value (3.14159) — not the
displayed value — is used.
Stylistic formatting
Stylistic formatting refers to the cosmetic formatting (colors, shading, fonts, borders, and so on)
that you apply in order to make your work look good. The Home
Font and Home
Styles
groups contain commands to format your cells and ranges.
A formatting concept introduced in Excel 2007 is document themes. Basically, themes allow you
to set many formatting options at once, such as font, colors, and cell styles. The formatting
options contained in a theme are designed to work well together. If you’re not feeling particularly
artistic, you can apply a theme and know the colors won’t clash. All the commands for themes
are in the Themes group of the Page Layout tab.
Don’t overlook Excel’s conditional formatting feature. This handy tool enables you to specify
formatting that appears only when certain conditions are met. For example, you can make the cell’s
interior red if the cell contains a negative number. Excel 2007 introduced many new conditional
formatting options, and Excel 2010 refined them.
 
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