Excel 2013 provides some cell formatting options on the Home tab of the ribbon, but to style your sheet with more precision, open the Format Cells window and change the settings there. Often, you'll need to change the options on only one or two tabs of the Format Cells window, but Excel supports combining multiple formatting options at once, such as changing font color, number style, alignment and borders.
Select the cells you want to format -- or press "Ctrl-A" to select the entire sheet -- then right-click the selection and choose "Format Cells."
Choose a category on the "Number" tab to change how numbers appear, such as to display currencies, dates, scientific notation or fractions. Some categories offer additional options, such as choices on how to display negative currencies or the number of decimal places to include. Basic number formatting options are also available in the Number section of the Home tab on the ribbon.
Set options on the "Alignment" tab to change how data fits inside cells. The "Horizontal" and "Vertical" options position the data, while "Orientation" affects its angle. The tab also has a few extra options, such as to wrap or shrink text. Most alignment options are also available in the Alignment section of the Home tab.
Change the font, font size, text style and text color on the "Font" tab. These options also appear in the Font section of the Home tab.
Pick a line style and draw on the preview area of the "Border" tab to add borders to cells. The border icon in the Font section of the Home tab also provides a shortcut to several common border styles.
Apply a background color on the "Fill" tab. Optionally, pick a pattern for the fill as well. If you use a pattern, stick with a light pattern color to avoid making text illegible. The Font section of the Home tab has a shortcut button for adding fill colors without patterns.
Choose to lock cells or hide cell formulas on the "Protection" tab before distributing a spreadsheet. These options take effect only after you click "Protect Sheet" or "Protect Workbook" in the Changes section of the Review tab on the ribbon.
Switch to the "Page Layout" tab of the ribbon and use the options in the Page Setup section to format how the spreadsheet prints, such as to change the paper size, margins or orientation. These settings do not alter the layout of the sheet on the screen.
Press "Themes" to change between themes, which alter both the colors and fonts for the entire workbook. To change only one or the other, press "Colors" or "Fonts" instead. Themes only change colors chosen from the Theme Colors section of the color picker -- those from the Standard Colors section remain the same.
Tips & Warnings
- Conditional formatting in Excel applies different styles to cells in real time according to the current cell data. For example, you could set cells to turn red if they have a high enough number. To choose a rule and style, press "Conditional Formatting" in the Styles section of the Home tab.
- To create a table inside a spreadsheet, press "Format as Table" in the Styles section of the Home tab. Using a table provides a fast way to style a group of cells with banded rows or columns, a header row and other effects that help the cells stand out.
- Press "Cell Styles" in the Styles section of the Home tab to apply preset styles to your spreadsheet. If you have Excel open in a large window, you'll see some style choices directly on the ribbon -- "Normal," "Bad," "Good" -- instead of seeing the Cell Styles button. To see more, click the "More" arrow in the corner of the Styles section.
- Microsoft Support: How to Control and Understand Settings in the Format Cells Dialog Box in Excel
- Office Online: Quick Start: Apply Conditional Formatting
- Office Online: Format an Excel Table
- Office Online: Apply, Create, or Remove a Cell Style
- Office Online: Apply, Customize, and Save a Document Theme in Word or Excel