Excel How-To: Color Every Other Row for Easy Reading

Coloring every other row in Excel can help improve the readability of your data. It’s a simple process known as “zebra striping,” and it’s great for anyone who needs to quickly scan and analyze information. With just a few clicks, you can transform your bland spreadsheet into an organized, visually appealing masterpiece.

Step by Step Tutorial: Excel How to Color Every Other Row

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what this will accomplish. By following these steps, you will apply a color to every other row in your selected range, making it easier to distinguish between rows when working with large amounts of data.

Step 1: Highlight the Range of Cells

Click and drag to highlight the rows you want to color.

Once you have selected the range, it’s important to make sure you don’t accidentally click outside of the selection, or you’ll have to start over.

Step 2: Open the Conditional Formatting Menu

Navigate to the ‘Home’ tab and click on ‘Conditional Formatting’.

Conditional Formatting is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to format cells based on specific criteria, such as the odd or even status of a row.

Step 3: Select ‘New Rule’

In the Conditional Formatting menu, click ‘New Rule’.

This will open up a new window where you can define the specific formatting rules you want to apply to your selected cells.

Step 4: Choose ‘Use a Formula to Determine Which Cells to Format’

Select the option that allows you to use a formula to determine the formatting.

By using a formula, you can specify that you only want to format the odd or even rows.

Step 5: Enter the Formula

Type the formula ‘=MOD(ROW(),2)=0’ into the formula box.

This formula will check if a row number is even. If it is, the row will be formatted.

Step 6: Set the Format

Click the ‘Format’ button and choose the fill color you want for the rows.

You can also choose to format the text in a certain way, but for zebra striping, the fill color is the most important aspect.

Step 7: Apply the Rule

Click ‘OK’ to close the Format Cells window, and then ‘OK’ again to apply the rule.

After you click ‘OK’, you’ll see every other row in your selected range fill with the color you chose.

After completing these steps, your Excel spreadsheet will have every other row colored. This not only makes the data easier on the eyes but also assists in preventing errors when entering or analyzing data across several rows.

Tips: Excel How to Color Every Other Row

  • Use contrasting colors for the best readability.
  • Apply the formatting to the entire sheet to maintain consistency as you add more data.
  • If you have headers, start your formula from the row number after the headers to keep them uncolored.
  • Experiment with different shades to find what works best for your specific data set.
  • Remember, you can always undo the formatting by going back into Conditional Formatting and deleting the rule.

Frequently Asked Questions: Excel How to Color Every Other Row

What if I want to color odd rows instead of even?

Change the formula to ‘=MOD(ROW(),2)=1’.

This formula will check for odd row numbers and apply the color accordingly.

Can I use this method to color columns instead of rows?

Yes, you would just need to use the COLUMN function instead of ROW in your formula.

Replacing ROW() with COLUMN() in the formula will apply the formatting to every other column instead of every other row.

Will this formatting apply to new rows I add later?

Yes, the formatting rule will automatically apply to any new rows you insert within the range you’ve selected.

This is one of the benefits of using Conditional Formatting – it automates the process and saves you time.

Can I color more than one row at a time?

Absolutely, adjust the MOD function in the formula to accommodate the number of rows you want to color.

For instance, if you want to color two rows and then skip two rows, you would use ‘=MOD(ROW(),4) Manage Rules, select your rule, and click ‘Delete’.

This will remove the formatting from your spreadsheet, returning it to its original state without any colored rows.


  1. Highlight the range of cells.
  2. Open the Conditional Formatting menu.
  3. Select ‘New Rule’.
  4. Choose ‘Use a formula to determine which cells to format’.
  5. Enter the formula ‘=MOD(ROW(),2)=0’.
  6. Set the format by choosing a fill color.
  7. Apply the rule.


Mastering the art of coloring every other row in Excel is one of those little tricks that can make a big difference in your workflow. It’s a feature that, once learned, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Whether you’re working with financial data, scheduling, inventory, or any spreadsheet that involves rows and rows of data, zebra striping can save time, reduce errors, and make your data more readable. So go ahead, give it a try on your next spreadsheet and watch as it transforms from a sea of cells into a neatly organized tapestry of information. If you’ve found this guide on Excel how to color every other row helpful, be sure to explore other Excel features to enhance your data management skills even further. Happy striping!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy