Excel Tutorial: How To Make Dot Grid Paper In Excel


If you are someone who loves to organize their notes, sketches, or plans, then you must be familiar with dot grid paper. This type of paper is popular among designers, artists, and writers for its versatility and non-intrusive pattern. However, what if we told you that you can create dot grid paper in Excel? That's right! In this tutorial, we will show you how to make dot grid paper in Excel, and the purpose behind it.

Key Takeaways

  • Dot grid paper is popular among designers, artists, and writers for its versatility and non-intrusive pattern.
  • Creating dot grid paper in Excel allows for customization and easy digital access.
  • Setting up the Excel sheet involves adjusting cell size, gridlines, and creating the dots.
  • Formatting the dots involves changing color, size, and spacing, as well as adding guides and labels for reference.
  • Customizing the paper includes adding headers or footers and adjusting the page layout for printing.

Setting up the Excel sheet

Creating dot grid paper in Excel can be a useful tool for various tasks such as sketching, planning, or even for bullet journaling. To get started, follow the steps below to set up the Excel sheet.

A. Open a new Excel spreadsheet

Begin by opening Excel and creating a new blank spreadsheet. This will serve as the canvas for your dot grid paper.

B. Adjust cell size and gridlines

Once you have the blank spreadsheet open, you will need to adjust the cell size and gridlines to create the dot grid effect.

Adjusting cell size

To adjust the cell size, select the entire spreadsheet by clicking on the square in the top-left corner, or by pressing Ctrl + A. Then, right-click on any of the column or row headers and choose "Column Width" or "Row Height" to adjust the sizes to your desired dimensions.

Displaying gridlines

To display gridlines, go to the "View" tab in the Excel ribbon and check the "Gridlines" box. This will ensure that the gridlines are visible on your dot grid paper.

With these adjustments, you have successfully set up your Excel sheet to create dot grid paper. Now, you can proceed with customizing the grid to suit your needs.

Creating the dots

When creating dot grid paper in Excel, the first step is to create the individual dots that will make up the grid.

A. Using the shape tool to make small circles

Start by selecting the "Insert" tab at the top of the Excel window. Then, click on the "Shapes" option in the toolbar. Choose the circle shape and click and drag on the worksheet to create a small circle. You can adjust the size of the circle by dragging the corners of the shape.

B. Copying and pasting the circles in a grid pattern

To create a grid of dots, you can use the copy and paste function in Excel. Select the circle you have created, then use the "Ctrl + C" keyboard shortcut to copy the circle. Next, use the "Ctrl + V" keyboard shortcut to paste the circle onto the worksheet. Repeat this step to create multiple circles, arranging them in a grid pattern.

Additional tip

  • If you want to create a perfectly spaced grid, you can use the "Align" options in Excel to evenly distribute the circles both horizontally and vertically.

Formatting the dots

When creating dot grid paper in Excel, it’s essential to pay attention to the formatting of the dots to ensure they meet your specific needs. Here are a few key steps to consider when formatting the dots:

A. Changing the color and size of the dots
  • Color: To change the color of the dots, select the cells where the dots are located and navigate to the “Fill Color” option in the formatting toolbar. From here, you can choose a different color that suits your preferences.
  • Size: Adjusting the size of the dots can be done by changing the font size of the cells. Simply select the cells containing the dots and modify the font size to make them larger or smaller as needed.

B. Adjusting the spacing between the dots
  • Row height and column width: To adjust the spacing between the dots, you can modify the row height and column width of the cells containing the dots. This can be done by selecting the rows or columns and adjusting their dimensions accordingly.
  • Cell padding: Another way to adjust spacing is by modifying the cell padding. This can be done by navigating to the “Format Cells” option and adjusting the padding settings to create the desired spacing between the dots.

Adding guides and labels

Creating dot grid paper in Excel can be made easier by adding guides and labels to your worksheet. This will help you keep track of the rows and columns, and ensure that your dot grid paper is well-organized and easy to work with.

A. Inserting horizontal and vertical lines for guides

To add horizontal lines to create the dot grid, you can use the border tool in Excel. First, select the range of cells where you want the dot grid to be displayed. Then, go to the ‘Home’ tab, click on the ‘Borders’ dropdown menu, and select ‘Draw Border Grid’. This will insert horizontal lines to create the dot grid.

For vertical lines, you can use the ‘Insert’ tab and click on the ‘Shapes’ dropdown menu. Choose the straight line shape and draw it over the selected range to create the vertical lines for the dot grid.

B. Labeling the rows and columns for reference

Labeling the rows and columns in your dot grid paper can help you keep track of the different sections and cells. To label the rows, simply click on the row number on the left-hand side of the worksheet and type in the label. Similarly, to label the columns, click on the column letter at the top of the worksheet and type in the label.

By adding clear labels to your dot grid paper, you can easily refer to specific sections and cells when working on your projects or data analysis.

Customizing the paper

When creating dot grid paper in Excel, you have the flexibility to customize the sheet according to your needs. This can include adding headers or footers, as well as adjusting the page layout for printing.

Adding headers or footers

Headers and footers can be useful for adding important information to your dot grid paper. To add a header or footer, go to the "Insert" tab in Excel and choose either "Header" or "Footer" from the "Text" group. You can then type in the desired content and format it as needed. This could include adding the date, page numbers, or any other relevant information.

Adjusting the page layout for printing

Before printing your dot grid paper, it's important to adjust the page layout to ensure it looks the way you want. To do this, go to the "Page Layout" tab in Excel and make any necessary adjustments to the margins, orientation, and size of the paper. You can also set the print area and adjust the scaling to fit the paper onto the desired number of pages.


In conclusion, creating dot grid paper in Excel is a simple and useful skill to have, especially for designers and planners. To recap, you can achieve this by setting column and row height, adjusting cell margins, and formatting the cells with a light grey fill. Remember to practice and explore other design possibilities in Excel to further enhance your skills and create impressive visuals for your projects. With dedication and creativity, the possibilities are endless!

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