Chapter 2. Format Annoyances

When all is said and done, formatting objects in Excel is reasonably straightforward

When all is said and done, formatting objects in Excel is reasonably straightforward. The Formatting toolbar and the Format Cells dialog box make most common tasks pretty easy. But if you try to push Excel past the formatting basics, things can go wrong in a hurry. For example, for the longest time I didn’t know how to work with Excel’s color palette, that collection of mysterious and mysteriously repeating colors that appear in charts, graphs, and cell backgrounds.

Another aspect of Excel that took me a while to get a handle on was custom formats. No, not conditional formats, which change the appearance of a cell and its contents based on the value in the cell, but custom formats that control how Excel displays dates, times, and special information such as Social Security numbers and Zip Codes. You can use custom formats to establish some rules on how a cell’s contents will be displayed, but you don’t have nearly the variety of formatting options that are available to you through the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

This chapter includes more than 30 annoyance-fixes you can use to control the appearance of your workbooks, from a one-click method of wrapping text within a cell, to a macro that can find out exactly which colors are available in your workbook.

CELL FORMATTING ANNOYANCES

FORMAT PART OF A CELL’S CONTENTS

The Annoyance:

OK, I’ll come clean: I’ve been using Excel ...

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