#298 Excel Zebra Stripes

I’ve been a longtime fan of shading alternate rows of your spreadsheet to make it easier to read.  I’ve also share how you can do something similar and a bit more dynamic with dividing lines.

In the original tip on shading rows we just saw how to shade every other row. This week I’d like to show you how you can tweak that to suit your needs or preferences.  The table functionality of Excel 2010 makes this kind of thing a snap.

Formatting as a Table

Excel 2010 has some built-in table formatting that let’s  you do this shading without needing any formulas, etc. Just go to the Format as Table button and select a format you like.

Customizing Existing Table Formats

Pretty cool huh? Now here’s how you can customize these and make them even better.

1. In the Table Design area, right-click the style you want to modify and make a Duplicate. ( You can just modify the current one if you prefer, but then that formatting will be lost. )

2. Excel will make a copy of that table style and opens a dialogue box where that allows you to adjust the formatting.

3. To change the number of alternating shaded rows click on First Row Stripe and select how many stripes you’d like to repeat before they change.

4. Also do this for the Second Row Stripe too. Note that they don’t have to be the same number.

5.  When you have it the way you like, click OK & save it. Now it’s available from your Table styles gallery anytime you need it.

#71: Use Tables for Document Layout

Use Tables for Document Layout

Improve readability by adding scannable “chunks”

I’d bet a lot of money (if I had any) that when you read this subject line you immediately thought of something like this….

…or maybe you were getting fancy and thinking more along the lines of this….

Either way tables are great for presenting this kind of tabular data that we’re all used to seeing. But did you know that you can use tables to create some “advanced” layouts in Microsoft Word?

Document Layout with Tables :

By creating some very simple tables you can create a drastically improved, and more readable layout in Word. Take a look at the following example. Without using tables getting all of these elements in the exact places you wanted them to be would require either specialized (and expensive) desktop publishing software or some pretty advanced Word skills.

Looking Under the Covers:

Now take a look at this same document with the tables used to create it revealed.

This kind of formatting is great for status reports, newsletters and just about anything else you’d like to look professional and well done.

This is just a basic example and you are welcome to have a copy for yourself or experiment on your own and see what you can come up with. Your only limit is your creativity. Try it and let me know how it works.

Remember to turn off the borders so no one will know your “secrets” but us!

If your interested in more of the details visit this page on the Microsoft Word Team’s Blog.