Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are not only supposed to be a useful way to store data, but also, help users read the data in a way that makes sense. Ironically, sometimes there's so much data in a spreadsheet that it ultimately becomes difficult to read.
A great way to make your data easier to read is to use Excel's Borders and Shading feature, which let's you add 3-D effects to your spreadsheet. For example, you can use Borders and Shading to create alternating 3-D formatted columns: one column formatted as a raised button, and the other column formatted as a pressed in button. To add these effects to your spreadsheet, follow these steps:
- Select a cell on an empty worksheet, such as C5.
- Go to Format | Cells.
- On the Border tab, select the 5th line in the second column in the Line box.
- Select Automatic or Black in the Color drop-down box.
- Click the right-hand border button, then click the bottom border button.
- With the 5th line still selected, select white in the Color drop-down box.
- Click the left-hand border button, then click the top border button.
- Select the Patterns tab, select light gray, and then click OK.
C5 is now formatted with a raised button effect. To create the format for the alternate row, select D5 and repeat the steps above, only make the bottom and right borders white, and the left and top borders black. D5 is now formatted with a pressed in button effect.
To create the alternating 3-D pattern, follow these steps:
- Select C5 and D5, click on the Format Painter button, and click and drag C6:D20 to copy the format to those cells.
- Select C5:D20, click the Format Painter button, and then click and drag the next set of columns E5:F20 to copy the format to those cells.
- Continue copying the format with the Format Painter button until all desired cells are formatted.
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