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Using Styles in Microsoft Excel
Part two of a two-part series of blogs
Constantly formatting cells in the same way can be one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks in Excel. This blog teaches you how to use styles so that you can quickly apply consistent formatting across a range of cells.
It's very easy to apply an existing style to cells, but the choices you have in terms of different styles is somewhat limited. Fortunately you can create your own custom styles.
There are two main ways of creating a style in Excel 2007 and 2010: you can either format a cell first and then create a style based on that cell; or you can create a style and set all the formatting options using a dialog box.
To create a style based on a formatted cell:
It's a bit gaudy but will do as an example. You don't need to type text into the cell, but it helps you to see if you have applied the font formatting that you intended.
If your styles list is expanded like this one you'll need to click the drop arrow at the bottom right corner.
Try to make your style names descriptive.
Custom styles will appear at the top of the list of styles.
To create a style without formatting a cell first:
Click the Format... button to display the Format Cells dialog box.
Use the different tabs to change different parts of the cell format.
In Excel 2003, the way you create a style depends on whether or not you have added the Styles list to a toolbar. To create a style in Excel 2003:
|If you don't have the Style list on a toolbar you will see the Style dialog box.||If you do have the Style list on a toolbar you will see if becomes activated.|
Your new style will be added to the list of styles.
One of the great things about a style is that it can save information about any settings you've applied to a cell using the Format Cells dialog box. So that includes everything from the font size to the cell's protection settings
Anything you change on any tab of this dialog box can be saved in a style. This includes complex custom number formats, which can be a pain to reproduce!
When you create (or modify) a style you can choose which elements of the cell's format you want to include in the style.
Here we've unchecked the Border and Fill elements of the style. This means that when we apply this style to another cell it won't change that cell's border or fill colour settings.
If you decide that you need to change something about a style after you've created it, you can!
To modify a style in Excel 2007 or 2010:
Right-click on the style and choose Modify...
To modify a style in Excel 2003:
Click this button to edit your style.
When you've finished modifying your style you'll see that any cells that already use the style you've changed will automatically be updated to include your changes. It's a great way to change the formatting of a large range of cells in one go.
You can also modify any of the existing styles in a workbook. If you do this with the Normal style you'll find that all of the cells in a new workbook will be changed - that's because every cell in a new workbook has the Normal style applied to it by default.
One slightly disappointing things about styles is that they only exist in the workbook that you create them in. You can get around this by merging styles from one workbook to another.
To merge styles:
You should now have access to all of the styles from your other workbook. It's annoying to have to do this each time you create a new file - a much better solution would be to create a template workbook which contains all the styles you're going to use regularly, but that's a subject for a future blog!
|Parts of this blog|
Some other pages relevant to the above blogs include:
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