Chapter III.3. Formatting and Collaborating in Excel

In This Chapter

  • Taking out your formatting tools

  • Coloring and shading cells for emphasis

  • Figuring out dates and times

  • Formatting with conditions

  • Sharing your workbooks

  • Protecting the history of changes

If you hold this book for five minutes in your hands each day, Excel automatically starts behaving. Jokes aside, we start this chapter by pointing out some interesting formatting options, including how to control borders, shading, and patterns. We explain the mysteries behind Excel's date and time calculations, and how Excel can apply formatting for you based on a cell's contents. Lastly, we cover Excel's unique file-sharing capabilities.

Preparing to Format

Preparing to Format

Alternatively, dialogs offer more formatting options. You can display dialogs by right-clicking or Control-clicking the interface or objects, choosing Format from the resulting pop-up menu, and selecting an appropriate formatting option from the Format dialog. You can access some dialogs by clicking buttons on the Formatting Palette.


Before you can format anything, you must first select it. In general, to select something, click it. The interface responds by changing the display to indicate your selection, usually by changing the selection's border or outline.

Formatting Cells

One of the things you might find do frequently is changing the way cells look, and you do this with the Formatting ...

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