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Adding background color for readability

From: Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts

Video: Adding background color for readability

When you are looking at a large database sometimes it becomes difficult to read, particularly if it's got a lot of dense scientific data. This one might be not so bad, but how about this one here, this particular worksheet which has a lot of scientific data? And one thing that would help would be to somehow be able to add color to every tenth row, every sixth row, whatever seems to fit your needs. One approach could be to turn this into a table, and in Excel if you click the Insert tab and choose Table, Excel quickly figures out the range of your data, click OK, and you can get this effect. That would certainly make it more readable, and there are quite a few variations in here. But maybe what you would like to be able to do is to control this with your own sets of colors and possibly your own groupings.

Adding background color for readability

When you are looking at a large database sometimes it becomes difficult to read, particularly if it's got a lot of dense scientific data. This one might be not so bad, but how about this one here, this particular worksheet which has a lot of scientific data? And one thing that would help would be to somehow be able to add color to every tenth row, every sixth row, whatever seems to fit your needs. One approach could be to turn this into a table, and in Excel if you click the Insert tab and choose Table, Excel quickly figures out the range of your data, click OK, and you can get this effect. That would certainly make it more readable, and there are quite a few variations in here. But maybe what you would like to be able to do is to control this with your own sets of colors and possibly your own groupings.

Maybe it makes sense to look at this data and think of it as pieces five and ten, for example, five rows, every ten rows, something like that. So, although this might be appropriate for some situations, let's do some undos here. I am going to press Ctrl+Z a few times to remove this table definition and point in another direction, and you could do this for any worksheet of course. I am going to click in the upper-left corner to select the entire worksheet and then on the Home tab choose Conditional Formatting. There is no built-in feature here that actually does this for us, but we can create a rule here, a new rule, and this is a little obscure at first, but once you see that, I think you could see how might use it and apply it to your own example.

Now I am typing in a formula here, =mod. What does that mean? It comes from the word modular, it's a function in Excel, and what we are doing here in fact, is saying if the cell in question if divided by five has no remainder, if it's equal to zero, then that row we want to select and we want to apply format to. What cell do we use here? The active cell in this worksheet right now is A1. Now just by putting in a1 because we have selected the entire worksheet, this applies to every single cell. It's like a surrogate or substitute here.

=mod(a1 and actually what we are looking for here is on the row number of a1, so let me put the word row in here. Now Row is another function in Excel. When we divide this by five and the remainder is zero, and so any cell that's in row 5, row 10, row 15, etcetera will fit this particular formula. Apply a format. The most obvious format would be to fill it with some kind of a color. Pick any color that seems appropriate for you. I just pick yellow here. Click OK, click OK and every fifth row is yellow.

Now if we delete rows and add rows, it's still going to keep the scheme no matter what. It's always there and if we print this it's going to be much easier to read. If we just keep it here as we view it, its much easier o read. You can easily change your mind about the scope of this. We could click in the upper left-hand corner, go back to Conditional Formatting, possibly manage the rules, edit the rule. If we want this to be every four rows, change the five to a four, every three rows change it to a three, every ten rows change it to a ten and so on.

Similarly you could do this with columns. Now I would not suggest doing both at the same time, but if you somehow thought this was useful to do it by columns, same idea. Obviously the word row would be replaced by column and then the number here would be the one you choose. So it's an easy feature to set-up by way of Conditional Formatting. Again, the rule is a little strange if you have never used the mod function before. You do have to keep in mind that even though this only refers to cell a1, by inference it refers to the entire selected data and since we selected the whole worksheet it applies to the entire worksheet.

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This video is part of

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Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts

64 video lessons · 18830 viewers

Dennis Taylor
Author

 
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  1. 1m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      20s
  2. 22m 45s
    1. Entering data or formulas in non-adjacent cells simultaneously
      2m 28s
    2. Converting formulas to values with a simple drag
      2m 34s
    3. Copying data or formulas down a column instantly
      2m 56s
    4. Adjusting all or selected column widths or row heights in a flash
      2m 21s
    5. Instantly displaying all worksheet formulas
      3m 16s
    6. Two quick shortcuts for creating charts
      1m 18s
    7. Print Preview
      1m 7s
    8. Instant date or time entry
      1m 16s
    9. Undo/Redo/Repeat
      3m 19s
    10. Zooming in and out quickly
      2m 10s
  3. 7m 37s
    1. Expanding and collapsing the Ribbon and Full Screen view
      1m 23s
    2. Keyboard command access
      2m 22s
    3. Quick Access toolbar display tips
      3m 52s
  4. 14m 30s
    1. Split screens and frozen titles in a flash
      5m 56s
    2. Repeating title creation and suppression
      6m 17s
    3. Customizing your display of Status Bar totals
      2m 17s
  5. 11m 31s
    1. Navigation shortcuts
      2m 30s
    2. Tips for navigating between workbooks
      3m 48s
    3. Navigating within worksheets
      5m 13s
  6. 11m 12s
    1. Selecting an entire row, column, or worksheet
      3m 20s
    2. Selecting noncontiguous ranges and visible cells only
      4m 39s
    3. Selecting the current region and moving around region corners
      3m 13s
  7. 22m 16s
    1. Accelerating data entry
      6m 27s
    2. Auto-Fill techniques for entering dates
      4m 59s
    3. Auto-Fill techniques for entering times
      2m 37s
    4. Custom lists for rapid entry
      5m 54s
    5. Cell editing tips
      2m 19s
  8. 12m 38s
    1. Copy/Move acceleration tips
      3m 27s
    2. Worksheet Copy/Move shortcuts
      2m 29s
    3. Dragging and inserting variations
      3m 47s
    4. Instantly displaying Paste Special options
      2m 55s
  9. 29m 31s
    1. Rapid formula creation
      3m 48s
    2. Selecting all cells that depend on the active cell
      5m 24s
    3. Selecting all cells that can affect the active cell
      2m 38s
    4. AutoSum shortcuts
      2m 57s
    5. Rounding shortcuts
      5m 14s
    6. Generating random numbers
      3m 16s
    7. Counting unique entries
      3m 11s
    8. Performing calculations without formulas
      3m 3s
  10. 17m 4s
    1. Controlling rows and columns
      5m 50s
    2. Realigning imported text
      2m 27s
    3. Handling blank cells
      4m 20s
    4. Collapsing and expanding detail
      4m 27s
  11. 28m 8s
    1. Formatting numbers
      6m 49s
    2. Aligning data
      3m 49s
    3. Adding background color for readability
      3m 43s
    4. Formatting data conditionally
      1m 54s
    5. Creating custom formats
      6m 23s
    6. Formatting periods over 24 hours
      3m 2s
    7. Applying strikethroughs and borders
      2m 28s
  12. 25m 46s
    1. Sorting shortcuts
      2m 40s
    2. Cleaning up spaces
      4m 47s
    3. Identifying duplicates
      6m 10s
    4. Splitting columns
      3m 57s
    5. Ensuring unique entries
      2m 46s
    6. Forcing dates to be weekdays only
      3m 56s
    7. Displaying unique items from large lists
      1m 30s
  13. 18m 38s
    1. Placing and adjusting charts
      2m 37s
    2. Creating chart titles from cell content
      2m 22s
    3. Creating and manipulating shapes
      5m 31s
    4. Linking and unlinking pictures
      8m 8s
  14. 9s
    1. Goodbye
      9s

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