How to Format Cells in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Formatting cells in Excel can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. Whether you’re looking to change the cell’s color, adjust the text alignment, or set a specific data type, Excel has got you covered. The key is to know where to find the formatting options and how to apply them to your cells.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Format Cells in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that formatting cells can help you organize and present your data more effectively. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Select the cells you want to format

Click and drag your mouse over the cells you want to format, or hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key and click on individual cells.

Selecting the right cells is crucial because any formatting changes you make will only apply to the cells you’ve highlighted. You can select a single cell, a range of cells, or even non-adjacent cells by holding down the ‘Ctrl’ key as you click.

Step 2: Right-click and choose ‘Format Cells’

After selecting your cells, right-click on one of the highlighted cells and choose ‘Format Cells’ from the context menu.

Right-clicking brings up a menu with various options, and ‘Format Cells’ is where all the magic happens. This is the control center for changing the appearance of your cells.

Step 3: Choose the formatting category you need

In the ‘Format Cells’ dialog box, choose the category of formatting you need, such as ‘Number’, ‘Alignment’, ‘Font’, ‘Border’, ‘Fill’, or ‘Protection’.

Each category offers different options for formatting. For example, ‘Number’ lets you set the data type, ‘Font’ allows you to change the text style, and ‘Fill’ is used to color the cell’s background.

Step 4: Adjust the formatting options as desired

After selecting a category, adjust the settings to get the look you want. For example, you can change the number format, text alignment, or add a border.

The options available will depend on the category you’ve chosen. Take your time to explore the different settings to find the perfect format for your data.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’ to apply the formatting

After you have adjusted all the settings, click ‘OK’ to apply the formatting to the selected cells.

Once you hit ‘OK’, you will see the changes reflected in the cells you selected. If you’re not happy with how it looks, you can always go back and make more adjustments.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully formatted your cells in Excel. You’ll notice your data is now easier to read and interpret, making your spreadsheets look more professional and organized.

Tips for Formatting Cells in Excel

  • Always make sure to select the correct cells before applying any formatting.
  • Use the ‘Format Painter’ tool to quickly copy formatting from one cell to others.
  • Consider using cell styles for consistent formatting throughout your spreadsheet.
  • Use conditional formatting to automatically format cells based on their values.
  • Remember to save your work frequently, especially after applying complex formatting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I format multiple cells at once?

Select the range of cells you want to format by clicking and dragging, then apply the desired formatting. The changes will apply to all selected cells.

Can I undo cell formatting in Excel?

Yes, you can undo cell formatting by pressing ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Z’ or by clicking the ‘Undo’ button.

Is it possible to copy cell formatting in Excel?

Yes, you can use the ‘Format Painter’ tool to copy the formatting from one cell to others.

How do I clear all formatting from a cell?

Right-click on the cell, select ‘Format Cells’, and in the dialog box, click ‘Clear All’ to remove any formatting.

Can I apply conditional formatting to cells?

Yes, Excel allows you to set up rules for conditional formatting, which will automatically format cells based on their values.


  1. Select the cells you want to format
  2. Right-click and choose ‘Format Cells’
  3. Choose the formatting category you need
  4. Adjust the formatting options as desired
  5. Click ‘OK’ to apply the formatting


Formatting cells in Excel is a powerful way to enhance the visual appeal and clarity of your data. By following the step-by-step guide above, you can transform a plain spreadsheet into a well-organized and professional-looking document. Remember, the key to mastering Excel cell formatting is practice and experimentation. So don’t be afraid to try out different formatting options to see what works best for your data. Whether you’re a student, professional, or casual Excel user, knowing how to format cells is an essential skill that can greatly improve your efficiency and presentation. Keep exploring and fine-tuning your formatting skills, and you’ll soon become an Excel formatting pro!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

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