Creating a basic worksheet is only the first step toward mastering Excel. If you plan to print your worksheet, email it to colleagues, or show it off to friends , you need to think about whether your worksheet is formatted in a viewer-friendly way. A careful use of color , shading, borders, and fonts can make the difference between a messy glob of data and a worksheet that's easy to work with and understand.
But formatting isn't just about deciding, say, where and how to make your text bold. Excel also lets you control the way numerical values are formatted. In fact, there are really two fundamental aspects of formatting in any worksheet:
Cell value formatting is in many ways more significant than cell appearance, because it can change the meaning of your data. For example, even though 45%, $0.45, and 0.450 are all the same number, your spreadsheet readers will see a failing test score, a cheap price for chewing gum, and a world-class batting average, respectively.
Tip: Keep in mind that regardless of how you format your cell values, Excel maintains an unalterable value for every number entered. For more on how Excel internally stores numbers see the box on Sidebar 4.1.
In this chapter, you'll learn about cell value formatting, and then unleash your inner artist with cell appearance formatting. Finally, you'll learn the most helpful ways to use formatting to improve a worksheet's readability and how to save time with nifty features like AutoFormat, styles, and conditional formatting.