How to Make Excel Look Pretty: Tips for an Attractive Spreadsheet Design

Making your Excel spreadsheet look pretty is all about turning dull rows and columns into visually appealing and easy-to-read data. By applying some formatting tricks and using Excel’s built-in features, you can create a spreadsheet that’s both functional and attractive. Let’s dive into the steps to transform your data from drab to fab.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Make Excel Look Pretty

Following these steps will help you create a well-formatted and visually appealing Excel spreadsheet. From selecting the right fonts to applying color themes, we’ve got you covered.

Step 1: Select a Clean Font

Choose a simple and readable font for your data.

Fonts like Arial, Calibri, and Verdana are great choices. Avoid overly decorative fonts that can make your data hard to read.

Step 2: Use Borders and Shading

Apply borders and shading to separate different sections.

Borders can help distinguish between different sections of your spreadsheet, while shading can highlight important data. Use light colors for shading to maintain readability.

Step 3: Apply Conditional Formatting

Use conditional formatting to highlight key data points.

This feature allows you to automatically format cells based on their values. For example, you can set rules to highlight cells with sales above a certain threshold in green and those below in red.

Step 4: Create Tables

Turn your data into tables for better organization.

Tables not only make your data look more structured but also come with built-in filtering and sorting options. Select your data range and insert a table from the ‘Insert’ tab.

Step 5: Use Charts and Graphs

Visualize your data with charts and graphs.

Charts and graphs can make complex data easier to understand. Select your data range, go to the ‘Insert’ tab, and choose a chart type that fits your data best.

Step 6: Adjust Column Widths and Row Heights

Ensure that all your data is visible and easy to read.

Double-click the edges of columns and rows to auto-size them. You can also manually adjust the widths and heights for consistency.

Step 7: Add a Header and Footer

Include headers and footers for a professional touch.

Headers can contain titles, dates, or page numbers, while footers can include your name or other relevant information. Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘Header & Footer’ to add them.

After completing these steps, your Excel spreadsheet will be more organized, easier to read, and visually appealing. Your data presentation will be top-notch!

Tips for Making Excel Look Pretty

  • Consistent Formatting: Stick to a consistent style throughout your spreadsheet to maintain clarity.
  • Use Themes: Excel offers built-in themes that can give your spreadsheet a polished look with coordinated colors and fonts.
  • Limit Colors: Too many colors can be overwhelming. Stick to a simple color palette.
  • Alignment: Align text to improve readability. Use center or right alignment for numbers and left alignment for text.
  • Gridlines: Turn off gridlines for a cleaner look. You can find this option under the ‘View’ tab.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the right colors for my Excel spreadsheet?

Stick to a simple color palette that matches your brand or theme. Use light colors for shading and avoid overly bright colors that can strain the eyes.

Can I use images in my Excel spreadsheet?

Yes, you can insert images by going to the ‘Insert’ tab and selecting ‘Pictures.’ Just make sure they’re relevant and don’t clutter your spreadsheet.

How do I save my custom formatting for future use?

You can create a custom template by saving your formatted spreadsheet as a template file (.xltx). This way, you can reuse your formatting without starting from scratch.

How can I make my Excel charts look better?

Use the ‘Design’ tab to customize your charts. You can change colors, add data labels, and adjust the chart style to make it more visually appealing.

Is there a way to quickly format large data sets?

Yes, using the ‘Format as Table’ option under the ‘Home’ tab can instantly apply a consistent style to your data set, making it look organized and professional.


  1. Select a clean font.
  2. Use borders and shading.
  3. Apply conditional formatting.
  4. Create tables.
  5. Use charts and graphs.
  6. Adjust column widths and row heights.
  7. Add a header and footer.


Making Excel look pretty isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about enhancing readability and professionalism. By applying a clean font, using borders and shading, and leveraging Excel’s powerful features like conditional formatting and tables, you can transform a plain spreadsheet into a visually appealing masterpiece.

Charts and graphs can further help in presenting complex data in an easy-to-understand manner. Remember, consistency is key, so stick to a simple color palette and align your text properly. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that a well-formatted spreadsheet not only looks good but also communicates information more effectively.

So, the next time you open Excel, don’t just input data—take a few extra minutes to make it look pretty. Your audience will thank you, and you’ll feel more confident presenting your data. Happy formatting!

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