Excel Tutorial: How To Make Excel Tables Look Professional


When it comes to presenting data in Excel, professional-looking tables can make a world of difference. Whether you're sharing reports with colleagues or presenting findings to clients, a well-designed table can add credibility to your work and make information easier to comprehend. In this tutorial, we'll explore the key elements that can help you create professional excel tables that are both visually appealing and easy to understand.

Key Takeaways

  • Professional-looking tables can add credibility to your work and make information easier to comprehend
  • Choosing the right table design is essential for creating visually appealing and easy-to-understand tables
  • Formatting options such as font style, colors, and shading can enhance the readability of the table
  • Incorporating visual elements like borders, icons, and images can make the table more engaging
  • Consistency is key in maintaining accuracy and professionalism throughout the table

Choosing the right table design

When it comes to making your Excel tables look professional, choosing the right table design is crucial. Here are a few ways you can ensure your tables look polished and fit your brand or personal preference.

A. Using built-in table styles
  • Excel offers a variety of built-in table styles that you can apply to your tables with just a few clicks.
  • These styles come in different colors, fonts, and formatting options, allowing you to choose a design that best fits your needs.
  • To apply a built-in table style, simply select your table and then navigate to the "Table Tools" tab in Excel. From there, you can choose from the available styles and apply them to your table.

B. Customizing table styles to fit your brand or personal preference
  • If the built-in table styles don't fully meet your needs, you can customize them to fit your brand or personal preference.
  • Excel allows you to modify existing table styles by changing elements such as font, color, borders, and shading.
  • You can also save your customized table style as a new, reusable style so that you can apply it to other tables in the future.

Utilizing formatting options

When creating Excel tables, it’s important to pay attention to the formatting in order to make them look professional and easy to read. Here are a few tips on how to utilize formatting options effectively.

A. Adjusting font style and size for readability
  • Font Style: Choose a clean and easy-to-read font style such as Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman. Avoid using decorative or script fonts, as they can make the table look cluttered and unprofessional.
  • Font Size: Ensure that the font size is large enough to be easily readable, but not so large that it takes up too much space. A font size between 10 and 12 is generally considered ideal for table content.

B. Using colors and shading strategically
  • Color: Use colors sparingly and strategically to draw attention to important information or to differentiate between different categories. For example, you can use a different color for headers or total sums to make them stand out.
  • Shading: Shading can also be used to create visual distinction between rows or columns. Consider using alternate row shading to make it easier for the reader to follow across a row.

By adjusting font style and size for readability and using colors and shading strategically, you can significantly improve the professional look of your Excel tables.

Incorporating visual elements

When it comes to making your Excel tables look professional, incorporating visual elements can make a significant difference. By adding borders to separate data and inserting icons or images for visual appeal, you can enhance the overall look and feel of your tables.

Adding borders to separate data

One way to make your Excel tables look more professional is by adding borders to separate different sections of the data. This can help improve readability and organization, making it easier for users to understand the information presented. To add borders, select the cells or range of cells that you want to add borders to, then navigate to the "Home" tab and click on the "Borders" dropdown menu. From there, you can choose different border styles to apply to your selected cells.

Inserting icons or images for visual appeal

Another way to enhance the visual appeal of your Excel tables is by inserting icons or images. This can help to break up large chunks of data and make your tables more engaging. To insert an icon, go to the "Insert" tab and click on the "Icons" option. From there, you can choose from a variety of pre-made icons to add to your table. If you want to insert an image, go to the "Insert" tab and click on the "Pictures" option to upload an image from your computer.

Organizing and structuring data effectively

When it comes to making Excel tables look professional, organizing and structuring your data effectively is key. This not only makes the data easier to read and understand, but also gives it a polished and professional look.

A. Using filters and sorting to make data more accessible
  • Filtering data:

    By using the filter option in Excel, you can easily display only the data that meets certain criteria, making it easier to focus on specific information.
  • Sorting data:

    Sorting your data allows you to arrange it in a logical order, such as alphabetically or numerically, making it easier to navigate and interpret.

B. Implementing conditional formatting to highlight important information
  • Highlighting data:

    Conditional formatting allows you to highlight important information by applying different formatting styles, such as bold text, color coding, or icon sets, based on specific conditions.
  • Creating visual cues:

    By using conditional formatting, you can create visual cues that draw attention to critical data points, making it easier for users to identify trends or outliers.

Ensuring consistency throughout the table

When creating a professional-looking Excel table, it's important to ensure consistency throughout the entire table. This includes accuracy in calculations and maintaining the same formatting across all sections.

Using formulas and functions to maintain accuracy

One way to ensure accuracy in your Excel table is by using formulas and functions to perform calculations. This not only saves time but also reduces the chances of human error. For example, the SUM function can be used to quickly add up a column of numbers, while the VLOOKUP function can be used to retrieve data from another table.

Keeping formatting consistent across all sections of the table

Consistent formatting is crucial for making your Excel table look professional. This includes using the same font, font size, and cell alignment throughout the entire table. You can also use cell styles to easily apply consistent formatting to different sections of the table.


As we wrap up this Excel tutorial on creating professional-looking tables, let's recap the key points we've covered. Remember to use consistent formatting and styles, incorporate color and shading effectively, and make use of data validation and conditional formatting to enhance the appearance and functionality of your tables. I encourage you to take these techniques and apply them to your own excel work to impress your colleagues and clients with professional and polished tables.

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