Excel Tutorial: How To Make Excel Pretty


When it comes to Excel, most of us focus on functionality and forget about the importance of making spreadsheets visually appealing. However, creating attractive and user-friendly Excel spreadsheets can have a significant impact on how your data is perceived and understood. In this tutorial, we will cover the key design principles and formatting techniques to make your Excel sheets not only look good, but also enhance readability and usability.

Key Takeaways

  • Visual appeal in Excel spreadsheets can greatly impact how data is perceived and understood.
  • Choosing a cohesive color scheme and easy-to-read fonts can enhance readability and usability.
  • Adding borders, shading, and images can help differentiate and highlight important information.
  • Customizing charts and graphs can provide a polished and professional finish to your spreadsheet.
  • Applying these design principles and formatting techniques can make your Excel projects more visually appealing and user-friendly.

Choosing the Right Color Scheme

When it comes to making your Excel spreadsheets visually appealing, choosing the right color scheme is crucial. A cohesive color scheme not only makes your spreadsheet look more professional, but it also helps to improve readability and comprehension.

A. Importance of choosing a cohesive color scheme

Using a cohesive color scheme in your Excel spreadsheet helps to create a sense of harmony and unity. It ensures that the different elements of your spreadsheet, such as headers, data, and charts, work together cohesively rather than clashing with each other. This makes it easier for your audience to focus on the content of the spreadsheet without being distracted by conflicting colors.

B. Tips for selecting colors that complement each other

  • Consider the purpose of your spreadsheet: Think about the message you want to convey and the tone you want to set. For example, if you're creating a financial report, you may want to use more muted and professional colors, whereas a presentation for a creative project might call for more vibrant and energetic colors.

  • Use a color wheel: The color wheel is a great tool for choosing colors that complement each other. You can use complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the wheel) for a bold and contrasting look, or analogous colors (colors next to each other on the wheel) for a more harmonious and calming effect.

  • Consider accessibility: It's important to ensure that your color choices are accessible to all users, including those with color vision deficiencies. Avoid using color combinations that make it difficult for people to distinguish between different elements in your spreadsheet.

  • Stick to a limited palette: Using too many different colors can make your spreadsheet look cluttered and overwhelming. Stick to a limited palette of 3-5 colors to maintain a clean and cohesive look.

Formatting Fonts and Text

When it comes to making your Excel spreadsheet visually appealing, the way you format fonts and text can make a big difference. Here are some tips for making your Excel spreadsheet look pretty:

  • Using bold and italic for emphasis
  • One way to make your text stand out is by using bold and italic formatting. Bold can be used to make important headers or labels more noticeable, while italic can be used for emphasis or to indicate a different type of information.

  • Choosing easy-to-read fonts
  • The font you choose can have a significant impact on the overall look and readability of your spreadsheet. Stick to simple, easy-to-read fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Avoid using overly decorative fonts, as they can be difficult to read and may make your spreadsheet look cluttered.

  • Adjusting font size and color for clarity
  • It's important to ensure that your text is easy to read and stands out clearly on the page. Adjust the font size to make sure it's large enough to be read comfortably, but not so large that it overwhelms the page. Additionally, consider using different font colors to differentiate between different types of information or to add visual interest to your spreadsheet.

Adding Borders and Shading

When working with Excel, it's important to make your spreadsheets visually appealing and easy to read. One way to achieve this is by adding borders and shading to your cells. Here's how you can differentiate sections with borders and use shading to highlight important information:

Differentiating sections with borders

  • Add a border: Select the cells you want to add a border to, then go to the "Font" group on the "Home" tab and click on the "Borders" button. From the drop-down menu, choose the type of border you want to add.
  • Customize border style: You can customize the border style by selecting the cells, clicking on the "Borders" button, and then clicking on "More Borders." From the "Format Cells" dialog box, you can choose the line style, color, and width for your borders.
  • Apply border to entire section: To apply a border to an entire section of your spreadsheet, select the cells, go to the "Borders" button, and then choose "All Borders" from the drop-down menu.

Using shading to highlight important information

  • Add shading: Select the cells you want to apply shading to, then go to the "Fill" group on the "Home" tab and click on the "Fill Color" button. Choose a color from the palette to apply shading to the selected cells.
  • Customize shading: You can customize the shading by selecting the cells, clicking on the "Fill Color" button, and then choosing "More Colors" to select a custom color for shading.
  • Remove shading: If you want to remove shading from cells, select the shaded cells, click on the "Fill Color" button, and then choose "No Fill" from the palette to remove the shading.

Inserting Images and Icons

When it comes to making your Excel spreadsheets visually appealing, the use of relevant images and icons can greatly enhance the overall look and feel. In this section, we will discuss how to add images and incorporate icons to give your Excel sheet a professional and modern appearance.

How to add relevant images to enhance the visual appeal

  • Step 1: Select the cell where you want to insert the image.
  • Step 2: Go to the 'Insert' tab on the ribbon.
  • Step 3: Click on the 'Pictures' option and select the image file from your computer.
  • Step 4: Once inserted, you can resize and position the image as needed.

Incorporating icons for a professional and modern look

  • Step 1: Navigate to the 'Insert' tab on the ribbon.
  • Step 2: Click on the 'Icons' option to choose from a variety of professionally designed icons.
  • Step 3: Select the desired icon and click 'Insert' to add it to your spreadsheet.
  • Step 4: You can customize the size and color of the icon to match your overall design scheme.

By following these simple steps, you can easily add relevant images and icons to your Excel sheet, making it visually appealing and professional.

Creating Customized Charts and Graphs

When it comes to making Excel pretty, customized charts and graphs can really make a difference in the overall appearance of your spreadsheet. Here are a couple of tips to help you create visually appealing visual representations of your data.

A. Choosing the right chart type for the data

Before you start customizing your chart, it's important to choose the right type of chart for your data. Excel offers a variety of chart types, including bar charts, line charts, pie charts, and more. Consider the nature of your data and the message you want to communicate before making a selection.


  • Bar charts are great for comparing values across different categories.
  • Line charts work well for showing trends over time.
  • Pie charts are useful for illustrating proportions of a whole.

B. Customizing colors and styles for a polished finish

Once you have selected the right chart type, you can start customizing the colors and styles to enhance the visual appeal of your chart.


  • Choose a color scheme that complements your data and the overall look of your spreadsheet.
  • Experiment with different chart styles to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
  • Consider adding a title, labels, and a legend to make your chart more informative and visually appealing.


In summary, we have covered several key points to make your Excel spreadsheets pretty and visually appealing. From using colorful themes and fonts to adding images and graphics, there are many ways to enhance the look of your data. I encourage you to apply these tips and tricks to your own Excel projects and see the difference it can make in engaging your audience.

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