How to Shade in Excel: Creating Clear and Structured Worksheets

Borders and shading are two of the simplest yet most effective types of formatting you can apply to your Excel worksheets. The goal is to clarify the structure of your data and to draw attention to important information that will help someone using the sheet find the most relevant data quickly.

To achieve this, shading and borders can be used to separate sections, column and row titles, and important numbers that have been totaled. This helps the user to see exactly what goes where and how all the data works together.

When there are no shading or borders in place, it can be difficult to see where one section ends and the next begins. This is where applying borders and shading can make a direct impact. In this post, we’ll focus only on borders and shading to help you create clear and structured worksheets.

To delineate sections with borders, you can use the thick outside border for a fast way to place related info into a single box. You can access this by clicking the Borders button found in the Font section on the Home tab. You can select a border type from the drop-down menu, and once selected, that becomes the effect applied. You can apply borders to column headings and thick box borders on the section titles to help define the data within each section.

Next, applying shading to the section titles, the cells they’re in, and their adjacent cells can be done using the Fill Color button found in the Font section of the ribbon. You can choose a color from the basic palette or from a range of colors on the standard and custom tabs. The custom tab offers a place to enter RGB and hexadecimal numbers if your worksheet must adhere to specific color requirements.

Lastly, shading can be applied to the column and row headings, the totals in rows 16 and 23, and the totals in columns I and N. Applying shading helps to create a worksheet that looks great and is easy to use.

In conclusion, the use of shading and borders can make a big difference in creating clear and structured Excel worksheets. By delineating sections with borders and applying shading to important areas, you can make it easier for users to find the information they need quickly.