Applying Font, Color, and Borders to Cells

Basic formatting in Excel can customize the look and feel of your Excel spreadsheet. Learn about formatting cells in Excel here.

Introduction

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Apply fonts
  • Apply a font color
  • Apply borders

Changing font type, size, and color

In Excel 2003, a font consists of three elements: typeface, or the style of the letter; size of the letter; and color of the letter. The default font in a spreadsheet is Arial 10 point, but the typeface and size can be changed easily.

Selecting a font typeface:

The amount of typefaces available for use varies depending on the software installed on your computer.

Typeface Examples

To apply a typeface to information in a cell:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Click the down arrow to the right of the font name list box on the Formatting toolbar.

    Font List Box
  • A drop-down list of available fonts appears.

    Arial Typeface Selection in Font List Box
  • Click on the typeface of your choice.
  • The selection list closes, and the new font is applied to the selected cells.

Changing font type, size, and color

To apply a font size to information in a cell:

The font size list varies from typeface to typeface. The Arial font sizes, for example, are 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 36, 48, and 72.

Font Size Examples

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Click the down arrow to the right of the font size list box on the Formatting toolbar.

    Font Size List Box
  • A drop-down list of available font sizes appears.

    Size 10 Selection
  • Click the font size of your choice.
  • The selection list closes, and the new font size is applied to the selected cells.

Changing font type, size, and color

To apply color to information in cells:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Click the down arrow to the right of the font color list box.

    Color Button on the Toolbar
  • A drop-down list of available colors appears.

    Color Dialog Box
  • Click the color of your choice.
  • The selection list closes, and the new font color is applied to the selected cells.

Underline, italics, and bold

In addition to the typeface, size, and color, you can also apply bold, italics, and/or underline font style attributes to any text or numbers in cells.

To select a font style:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Click any of the following options on the Formatting toolbar.

    Bold, Italics, Underline Buttons
  • Bold button: (Ctrl + B).
  • Italics button: (Ctrl + I).
  • Underline button: (Ctrl + U).
  • The attribute(s) selected (bold, italics, or underline) are applied to the font.

The bold, italics, and underline buttons on the Formatting toolbar are like toggle switches. Click once to turn it on, and click again to turn it off.

Design and apply styles

Styles can save a lot of time when formatting a spreadsheet. A style is a unique collection of font attributes (number, alignment, font, border, patterns, and protection). Many different styles can be created in a spreadsheet, each with different attributes and names. When applied to a cell, information in it resembles the attributes defined for that style.

To apply a style:

  • Select the cell or range of cells.
  • Choose Format Style from the menu bar.

    Format and Style Menu Selections
  • Select a style from the Style name drop-down list.

    Style Dialog Box

You can change the style attributes (number, alignment, font, border, patterns, and protection) for any style name.

You can create new styles by clicking the Add button in the Style dialog box.

Adding a border to cells

Borders can be applied to cells in your worksheet to emphasize important data or to assign names to columns or rows.

To add a border to a cell or cell range:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Click the down arrow next to the Borders button.
  • The Border drop-down appears.

    Border Listbox on ToolBar
  • Choose a borderline style from the Border drop-down menu.
  • The selected cells display the chosen border.

Adding color to cells

Colors can be applied to cells in your worksheet to emphasize important data or to assign names to columns or rows.

To add color to a cell:

  • Select a cell or range of cells.
  • Click the down arrow next to the Fill Color button. A Fill Color drop-down menu displays.

    Color Listbox on Toolbar
  • Choose a fill color from the Fill Color drop-down menu.

    Examples of Different Fill Colors
  • The selected cells display the color.

Challenge!

  • Open your Monthly Budget file.
  • Bold the words My Budget in row 1, and change the font to Verdana, size 14.
  • Format the other labels (Rent, Car Payment, Insurance, etc.) as Arial, bold, size 10.
  • Use AutoFit to format columns A, J, L, and M.
  • Change the font color of all of your expenses to RED.
  • Change the font color of all of your income to GREEN.
  • Apply at least one border.An example:Challenge 14 Example
  • Save and close the document.