Make It Pretty: Borders and Backgrounds

Like any other object in iWork, you can add borders, fills, and other effects to your table to make it colorful or subdued, flashy or conservative. More than just dressing up your table, well-placed background fills and borderlines make your tables more readable, too, guiding your reader’s eye through the columns of a row or demarcating header rows and columns.

When you apply color fills or borders to other types of objects, Numbers colors or adds lines around the entire object. You can do that with tables, too, but you can also add these styles to individual rows, cells, or columns. In this respect, every cell acts as its own object that you can style however you like. Before you start styling each and every one of your cells individually, though, it’s a good idea to start at the object level, applying a uniform background and border format to the entire table. This gives your table a design foundation and establishes consistency. From there, you can make formatting changes to individual rows, columns, or cells as you like. Whatever level of the table you’re working with, this section explores how to fine-tune your table’s lines and colors.

Tip

Once you have the text, color, and borders of a table or cell formatted just the way you want it, you can use it as a model for others. Select it and choose Format → Copy Style. Select one or more other cells or tables and choose Format → Paste Style, and Numbers applies the formatting. You can also save ...

Get iWork '09: The Missing Manual now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.