Google Sheets: How to Alternate Row Color for Better Organization

Want to make your Google Sheets look snazzy with some alternating row colors? It’s easier than you think! With just a few clicks, you can transform your data into a visually appealing and organized masterpiece. Let’s dive into how to alternate row colors in Google Sheets, so you can say goodbye to boring, monochrome spreadsheets!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Alternate Row Color in Google Sheets

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand that alternating row colors can help differentiate between rows, making your data easier to read and analyze. So, let’s get started!

Step 1: Select the range of cells you want to format

Click and drag your mouse over the cells you want to apply the alternating colors to.

When selecting the range, make sure to include all the rows and columns that you want to format. If you only want to color the rows, don’t worry about selecting the entire column; just focus on the rows.

Step 2: Open the ‘Format’ menu

Click on ‘Format’ in the top menu bar of Google Sheets.

This will open a dropdown menu where you’ll find various formatting options for your spreadsheet. We’re looking for the ‘Alternating colors’ option, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Step 3: Click on ‘Alternating colors’

Once inside the ‘Format’ menu, select ‘Alternating colors’ from the list.

This will open a side panel on the right side of your screen where you can choose your color scheme and customize how your alternating colors will look.

Step 4: Choose your color style

In the side panel, pick a default style or create a custom color scheme for your alternating rows.

Google Sheets offers a variety of preset styles you can choose from, or you can get creative and select custom colors that match your brand or preference.

Step 5: Adjust the range and formatting options if needed

Make sure the range is correct and tweak any additional options, like whether to color the header or footer.

You can also decide if you want to include or exclude the first row from the alternating colors. This can be useful if your first row is a header row with its own unique formatting.

Step 6: Click ‘Done’ to apply the formatting

Once you’re happy with your color choices and settings, hit the ‘Done’ button to apply the formatting to your selected range.

And like magic, your spreadsheet will now display alternating row colors, making it easier on the eyes and more efficient for data analysis.

After completing these steps, your Google Sheets will have beautifully formatted alternating row colors. This not only makes your data more visually appealing but also helps to distinguish between different rows quickly and easily.

Tips on How to Alternate Row Color in Google Sheets

  • Experiment with different color combinations to find what works best for your data and your audience.
  • Use lighter colors for your alternating rows to ensure that the text is still easily readable.
  • Remember that you can always change the color scheme later if you change your mind or if the data requires a different visual approach.
  • If you have a header row, consider using a bold color to distinguish it from the other rows.
  • Make use of the ‘Custom color’ option for more control over the exact shade and tone of the alternating rows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply alternating row colors to multiple sheets at once?

No, you need to apply alternating row colors to each sheet individually. However, you can copy the formatting from one sheet to another using the ‘Paint format’ tool.

Is it possible to alternate row colors based on cell values?

While the ‘Alternating colors’ feature doesn’t support conditional formatting, you can use the ‘Conditional formatting’ option under the ‘Format’ menu to create rules that change the color of the rows based on cell values.

What happens if I add or delete a row?

Google Sheets will automatically adjust the alternating colors when you add or delete a row, so you don’t have to worry about reformatting.

Can I use the alternating row color feature on the Google Sheets mobile app?

Yes, the Google Sheets mobile app supports alternating row colors. The steps are similar to the desktop version, though the interface may look slightly different.

How do I remove alternating row colors?

To remove alternating row colors, select the range with the formatting, go to ‘Format’ > ‘Alternating colors’, and then click ‘Remove alternating colors’ at the bottom of the side panel.


  1. Select the range of cells you want to format.
  2. Open the ‘Format’ menu.
  3. Click on ‘Alternating colors’.
  4. Choose your color style.
  5. Adjust the range and formatting options if needed.
  6. Click ‘Done’ to apply the formatting.


Alternating row colors in Google Sheets is a simple yet impactful way to enhance the readability and visual appeal of your data. Whether you’re a spreadsheet rookie or a data wizard, this feature is a game-changer for organizing and presenting information. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently alternate row colors, making your Google Sheets stand out from the crowd. And don’t forget, if you ever get stuck or need a refresher, this article will be here to guide you through the process. Now go forth and colorize those rows—your spreadsheet awaits!

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