Formatting Cells

In Google Sheets formatting cells can be done in a number of ways. Learn all about formatting in Google Sheets here.

Cell borders and background colors

Cell borders and background colors make it easy to create clear and defined boundaries for different sections of your spreadsheet.

To add cell borders:

  1. Select the cell or cells you want to modify.
    Clicking the Borders button
  2. Select the Borders button and choose the desired border option from the drop-down menu. In our example, we'll choose to display all cell borders.
    Selecting the cell border settings
  3. The new cell borders will appear.
    The new cell borders

To change the fill color:

It's easy to change the background color of any cell, which is known as the fill color.

  1. Select the cell or cells you want to modify.
  2. Locate and select the Fill color button from the toolbar.
    Changing the text background color
  3. Select a color from the drop-down menu. In our example, we'll choose blue.
    Choosing a text background color
  4. The new fill color will appear.
    The new text background color

Formatting text and numbers

The ability to apply specific formatting for text and numbers is one of the most powerful tools in Google Sheets. Instead of displaying all cell content in exactly the same way, you can use formatting to change the appearance of dates, times, decimals, percentages (%), currency ($), and much more.

Learn more about formatting numbers in our Understanding Number Formats lesson.


  1. Open our example file. Make sure you're signed in to Google, then click File > Make a copy.
  2. Select cells A1:E6. Change the horizontal alignment to center and the vertical alignment to middle.
  3. Select cells B3:E3. Bold the text and add an outside border.
  4. Select the merged cell in row 1 and change the font to something other than Arial.
  5. With the cell still selected, change the font size to 18 pt and bold the text.
  6. For the same cell, change the fill color to purple and the font color to white.
  7. When you're finished, your spreadsheet should look something like this:
    formatting cells challenge example