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When you create a PivotTable, Excel applies some basic formatting so you can easily distinguish the labels and organizational layers from the data in the body of the PivotTable. Excel does come with a substantial number of built-in styles from which to choose, so if you do want to change your PivotTable's formatting, you can do so easily. You can apply a PivotTable style from the gallery of available styles, by clicking that style. So, for example, if I click any cell in the body of the PivotTable, and then click the PivotTable contextual tab on the Ribbon, I can now apply a style from the PivotTable Styles gallery.
If I want to see the entire gallery, I can click the expand button, and that displays every style that's available. In this case, I'm going to select the style here, Pivot Style Light 16, and when I click it, Excel applies the style. You'll notice that there's fairly subtle formatting, that sort of a grayish blue here and here, and that's pretty much it, but oftentimes that's all you need. Now on the other hand, if you prefer a little bit more dramatic formatting, there are other styles available.
If you scroll down, you can see that some of the medium and some of the darker styles provide much sharper contrast and much darker colors. For these purposes, I am going to stay with the one that I've already selected. If you look at the style, you might notice, if you look very closely, that there is banding involved, and I will show what that means. If you want to have your odd and even rows with different formatting, for example some lighter and some darker, then you can turn on banding. To do that, you select a PivotTable style that has banding as part of it - the one I selected does - then you click the Row & Column button and click Banded Rows.
When you do, Excel gives you what I call offset or alternate formatting, so that you can distinguish between your rows. It makes it easier to count rows, if you're doing that visually, and it also makes it easier to read data from left to right. And your eye doesn't tend to skip up or down, the way that it can, if you're reading if there is no formatting. If you want, you can also turn off the formatting for the row headers or the column headers. I prefer to leave them just so they stand out visually. Regardless of the PivotTable style you apply, you can always select another one. To do that, just go up to the Styles Gallery, select another option, and see if you like that one better.
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