How to Make Gridlines Darker in Excel: Simple Steps for Clearer Spreadsheets

Making gridlines darker in Excel can improve visibility and make your spreadsheets easier to read. Here’s a quick guide to help you achieve this. First, select the entire worksheet or specific cells where you want darker gridlines. Next, apply borders to these cells using a darker color and thicker line style. Finally, adjust the border settings to customize the appearance to your preference.

How to Make Gridlines Darker in Excel

In the following steps, we’ll guide you through making gridlines darker in your Excel worksheet. This will enhance the visual clarity of your data.

Step 1: Open your Excel workbook

To begin, open the Excel workbook where you want to make the gridlines darker.

Ensure you’ve saved your work before making changes. It’s always a good idea to have a backup.

Step 2: Select the cells

Click and drag to highlight the cells where you want to darken the gridlines. If you want to apply this to the entire sheet, click the small triangle at the top-left corner.

Selecting the cells properly is crucial. This ensures that only the desired areas will have the new, darker gridlines.

Step 3: Go to the "Home" tab

Navigate to the "Home" tab in the Excel ribbon at the top of your screen.

The "Home" tab contains most of the formatting options you’ll need, including the borders for your cells.

Step 4: Click on the "Borders" drop-down menu

In the "Font" group on the "Home" tab, click the small arrow next to the "Borders" icon to open the drop-down menu.

This menu provides different border styles and options, such as line thickness and color.

Step 5: Choose "More Borders"

At the bottom of the drop-down menu, find and click on "More Borders."

This will open a new dialog box where you can further customize the border settings for your selected cells.

Step 6: Select a line style and color

In the "Format Cells" dialog box, go to the "Border" tab. Choose a thicker line style and a darker color for the borders.

Selecting the right combination of line thickness and color will make your gridlines stand out more prominently.

Step 7: Apply the borders

Click the "Outline" and "Inside" buttons in the same dialog box to apply these settings, then click "OK."

This action will apply the new border settings to the selected cells, making the gridlines darker.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your selected cells will have darker gridlines, improving readability and organization.

Tips for Making Gridlines Darker in Excel

  • Save frequently: Always save your work before making changes to avoid losing data.
  • Experiment with colors: Try different shades to find the best visibility for your needs.
  • Use thicker lines: A thicker line style can make a big difference in visibility.
  • Select specific areas: You don’t have to apply changes to the whole worksheet. Focus on key areas.
  • Check print preview: Make sure the darker gridlines look good when printed, as they might appear differently on paper.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I revert to default gridlines?

Simply remove the borders by selecting "No Border" from the Borders drop-down menu.

Can I make the gridlines darker by default?

Excel doesn’t offer this as a default setting, but you can create a template with darker gridlines to use for new workbooks.

Does this method work on all versions of Excel?

Yes, the method works on most versions of Excel, including Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, and Office 365.

Will this affect Excel’s performance?

No, changing the gridlines’ appearance should not impact performance.

Can I use conditional formatting for gridlines?

Conditional formatting does not apply to gridlines. You’ll need to use the border options as described.


  1. Open your Excel workbook.
  2. Select the cells.
  3. Go to the "Home" tab.
  4. Click on the "Borders" drop-down menu.
  5. Choose "More Borders."
  6. Select a line style and color.
  7. Apply the borders.


Making gridlines darker in Excel is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance the readability and organization of your data. With just a few clicks, you can customize your worksheet to make the gridlines stand out, helping you and others quickly interpret the information presented. Whether you’re working on a simple budget or a complex data analysis, darker gridlines can make your job easier.

For those who frequently create new spreadsheets, consider setting up a template with your preferred gridline settings to save time in the future. Excel offers numerous customization options, so don’t hesitate to explore and find what works best for you. Happy spreadsheeting!

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