Fab Formatting in Excel – 5 of the Best icons

Jul 4, 2018 | Excel Hints and Tips, Uncategorised

How often do you try to make your files look great and struggle to find the right formatting option for what you require?  As a trainer I am used to teaching people better ways to work but it is often the simplest things that get people most excited.  Here are my top 5 underused formatting icons in Excel.  How many do you already know?

1: Format Painter

This is actually available in most Microsoft products and enables the user to pick up formatting in one location and repeat it somewhere else.  This helps consistency in a document and is much quicker than manually repeating a combination of formatting options by hand.

To use it select a cell that has already got the format required applied.  Click on the Format Painter icon.  Then select the cell(s) that need this same format.  It can also be used repeatedly by double-clicking on the icon.  Then a number of different ranges of cells can be selected one after the other to apply the format.  Once finished clicking on it once or pressing Esc will turn it off

2: Merge and Centre

Allows the ability to centralise headings over a range of cells unlike the centre icon which centralises within each individual cell even if multiple cells are selected.  Merge and centre merges the cells together then centralises the heading across these.

Select the cells required (only one can currently contain text), press the Merge and Centre icon.  The cells selected now become one.

3: Wrap Text

Wraps text within a cell so it appears on multiple lines.  This works really well for long headings or comments and general information which can be quite wordy.

Select the cell(s) where the text needs to be wrapped.  Click on the Wrap Text icon.  The column width and row height may need to be adjusted for the required result.  ALT + ENTER can force the break from one line to the next to be somewhere else if it doesn’t break where you need it to.

4: Accounting

This applies accounting format to the cells selected.  It defaults to pounds but there are also options for dollars and euros.  In all cases it shows 2 numbers after the decimal place and adds a thousand separator.  The symbol for the currency is aligned to the left of the cell, the number to the right which makes it easier to read.  Like most of the other options here it can be accessed from format cells but this option is much quicker.  If the currency symbol is typed in then it appears directly before the number.

Select the cell(s) and click on the Accounting Format icon.

5: Increase and Decrease Font Size

Useful if you want to change the font size but don’t know what size you want to use.  You can scale up or down as many times as you need until you get the required result.

Click on the cell(s) and press the Increase or Decrease Font icon.  This is also available in some of the other Microsoft products.

I hope these are useful and save you time.  Some of them work in other Microsoft products too so give them a go.