Section 6.1. The Format Painter

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:

  1. Move to a cell that has the formatting you want to copy .

    You can use the Format Painter to copy formatting from either one cell or a whole group of cells. For example, you could copy the format from two cells that use two different fill colors, and paste that format to a whole range of new cells. These cells would alternate between the two fill colors. Although this is a powerful trick, in most cases, it's easiest to copy the format from a single cell.

  2. Choose Home Clipboard Format Painter to switch into "format painting mode .

    The pointer changes so that it now includes a paintbrush icon, indicating Excel is ready to copy the format.

  3. Click the cell where you want to apply the format .

    The moment you release your mouse button, Excel applies the formatting and your pointer changes back to its normal appearance. If you want to copy the selected format to several cells at once, just drag to select a group of cells, rows, or columns , instead of clicking a single cell.

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.

Excel 2007[c] The Missing Manual
Excel 2007[c] The Missing Manual
ISBN: 596527594
Year: 2007
Pages: 173 © 2008-2017.
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