6.1. The Format Painter
The Format Painter is a simple yet elegant tool that lets you copy all of a cell's format settingsincluding fonts, colors, fill, borders, and even the number formatfrom one cell to another. (Apparently, the Excel team decided that the more accurate label "Format Copier" wasn't nearly as exciting as the name Format Painter.)
To use the Format Painter, follow these steps:
Excel doesn't let you get too carried away with format paintingas soon as you copy the format to a new cell or selection, you exit format painting mode. If you want to copy the desired format to another cell, you have to backtrack to the cell that has your format, and start over again. However, there's a neat trick you can use if you know you're going to repeatedly apply the same format to a bunch of different cells. Instead of single-clicking the Format Painter button, double-click it. You'll remain in format painting mode until you click the Format Painter button again to switch it off.
Tip: The Format Painter is a good tool for quickly copying formatting, but it's no match for another Excel feature called styles . With styles, you can define a group of formatting settings, and then apply them wherever you need them. Best of all, if you change the style after you've created it, Excel automatically updates all cells that you've formatted using that style. Styles are described in the next section.