Excel Tutorial: How To Make Excel Tables Look Good


When it comes to working with Excel, data is king. However, presenting that data in a visually appealing way is just as important. A well-designed Excel table can not only make your data easier to understand but also more professional looking. In this tutorial, we will cover some tips and tricks to make your Excel tables look good and impress your colleagues or clients.

Key Takeaways

  • Visually appealing Excel tables are important for presenting data in a professional and understandable way.
  • Choosing the right table design involves considering the purpose of the table and selecting a complementary color scheme.
  • Formatting table headers with bold, italics, and adjustments to font size and color can improve visibility and functionality.
  • Consistent cell alignment, spacing, and effective use of gridlines contribute to a clean and organized table appearance.
  • Utilizing conditional formatting, charts, and graphs can provide visual cues and enhance data interpretation within the table.

Choosing the right table design

When it comes to creating an Excel table that looks good, the first step is to choose the right table design. This involves exploring different table styles, considering the purpose of the table, and selecting a color scheme that complements the data.

A. Exploring different table styles in Excel
  • Utilize the "Table Styles" options:

    Excel offers a variety of built-in table styles that users can choose from. These styles include different fonts, colors, and formatting options to enhance the visual appeal of the table.
  • Customizing the table style:

    In addition to the built-in styles, users can also customize their table by modifying font styles, cell borders, and fill colors to create a unique and visually appealing design.

B. Considering the purpose of the table and choosing a design that suits it best
  • Identify the main purpose of the table:

    Before selecting a table design, it's important to consider the main purpose of the table. For example, if the table is meant to present financial data, a more professional and understated design may be appropriate.
  • Match the design to the content:

    The design of the table should complement the type of data being presented. For instance, if the table contains sales data, a design that incorporates bold and vibrant colors may be suitable to visually highlight important information.

C. Tips for selecting a color scheme that complements the data
  • Consider the nature of the data:

    The color scheme should be chosen based on the nature of the data. For example, if the data is related to a specific season, using colors that mirror that season can enhance the visual appeal of the table.
  • Avoid using too many contrasting colors:

    While it's important to make the table visually appealing, it's also crucial to not overwhelm the viewer with too many contrasting colors. Select a color scheme that is pleasing to the eye and does not distract from the data.

Formatting the table headers

When it comes to making your Excel tables look good, formatting the headers is a key element. Here are some tips to make your table headers stand out:

A. Utilizing bold and italics for headers

  • Use bold formatting for main headers to make them more prominent
  • Italicize sub-headers to differentiate them from the main headers

B. Adjusting font size and color for better visibility

  • Choose a slightly larger font size for main headers to make them easily readable
  • Experiment with different font colors to find a visually appealing combination

C. Adding filters and sorting options to headers for better functionality

  • Utilize the filter function to allow users to easily sort and filter data within the table
  • Add sorting options to headers for quick organization of data

Adjusting cell alignment and spacing

One of the key elements in making Excel tables look good is ensuring consistent alignment for a clean and organized look. Here are some tips to achieve this:

A. Ensuring consistent alignment for a clean and organized look
  • Use the alignment options in the 'Home' tab to set consistent alignment for your data, such as left-aligned text for labels and headers, and center-aligned text for numerical data.
  • Consider using indenting and wrapping text to improve readability and make your table look more organized.

B. Adjusting cell padding and margins for a more balanced appearance
  • Adjusting cell padding and margins can help create a more balanced appearance for your Excel table.
  • Use the 'Format Cells' option to adjust cell margins and padding to your preference, ensuring that there is enough space around the content to avoid a cramped look.

C. Using gridlines effectively to separate data
  • Gridlines can be used effectively to separate different sections of your Excel table, making it easier to read and understand.
  • Consider using thicker gridlines to separate different sections or categories of data, and lighter gridlines for individual rows and columns.

Utilizing conditional formatting for visual cues

When it comes to making your Excel tables look good, utilizing conditional formatting can be a game-changer. Whether you want to highlight certain data points, visualize trends, or simply make your tables more visually appealing, conditional formatting can help you achieve all of these goals. Below are a few ways to make the most of conditional formatting for your Excel tables.

Applying conditional formatting rules for data visualization

One of the most common uses of conditional formatting is to apply rules that visually represent the data in your table. For example, you can use color scales to highlight the highest and lowest values in a range, making it easier to spot trends at a glance. Additionally, you can use data bars to represent the magnitude of a value within a range, adding a visual element to your table that makes it more engaging and easier to interpret.

Using color scales and icon sets to highlight important information

Color scales and icon sets are another powerful tool in conditional formatting that can help you draw attention to important information in your Excel tables. By assigning specific colors or icons to certain data ranges, you can quickly identify outliers, trends, or other key insights in your data. This not only makes your tables look more visually appealing, but it also makes them more functional and informative.

Creating custom conditional formatting rules to fit specific table needs

While Excel provides many built-in options for conditional formatting, you can also create custom rules to fit the specific needs of your table. This might include setting up rules based on formulas, combining multiple conditions, or creating unique formatting styles that align with your visual preferences. By customizing your conditional formatting rules, you can ensure that your Excel tables not only look good but also effectively communicate the insights within your data.

Incorporating charts and graphs into tables

Tables in Excel are a great way to organize and present data, but incorporating charts and graphs can take your data presentation to the next level. Here's how you can do it:

A. Inserting charts and graphs within the table for better data interpretation

One way to improve the visual appeal of your Excel tables is to insert charts and graphs directly within the table. This allows for a more comprehensive view of the data and makes it easier for the viewer to interpret the information. To do this, select the data you want to include in the chart, then go to the "Insert" tab and choose the chart type that best represents your data.

B. Linking charts to table data for real-time updates

Linking your charts to the table data ensures that any changes made to the underlying data are automatically reflected in the chart. This can be particularly useful when working with dynamic datasets that are frequently updated. To link a chart to table data, simply click on the chart and go to the "Design" tab, then select "Select Data" to choose the data range you want to link the chart to.

C. Formatting and customizing charts to match the table design

Once you have inserted a chart into your Excel table, you can format and customize it to match the design of the table. This includes changing the chart type, colors, and fonts to create a cohesive look. To do this, click on the chart and use the formatting options available in the "Format" tab to make the necessary adjustments.


In conclusion, we have covered the key points of creating visually appealing Excel tables. By using consistent formatting, color schemes, and clear headings, you can make your tables look professional and easy to read. It's important to remember that visually appealing tables can make a significant difference in how your data is perceived and understood. I encourage you to apply these tips to enhance your own tables and make a positive impression in your reports and presentations.

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