Section 60. Format Cells

60. Format Cells


59 AutoFormat a Spreadsheet


61 Center a Heading over Multiple Columns

62 Set Up Calc Page Formatting

60. Format Cells.

Now you see how to pretty things up, one cell at a time, if that's what you want. Calc offers many ways to change the look of your spreadsheets, such as enabling you to do the following:

  • Align data inside cells (such as left- and right-justification)

  • Modify row and column heights and widths

  • Change the font

  • Format data values such as currency, date, and time values

If you've used other programs such as Writer, you'll feel at home with many of Calc's formatting tools because the menus and options are similar to those of the other programs.

Adjust the Row Height and Column Width

If you want to increase or decrease the height of a row, just drag the row divider for that row up or down. To increase or decrease the width of any column, drag the column divider to the left or right. For more accurate control, right-click a column letter or row number and select Column Width or Row Height from the context menu. In the dialog box that appears, specify an exact value for the height or width of that row or column.


If you increase the size of the characters in a row, Calc increases the row's height to match the new character height.

If you make a column too narrow, Calc displays the characters #### to let you know that there's not enough room to display the data. Your data is still stored in the cell, but the value can't display until you increase the width of the column.

The Format menu contains Row and Column options that you can choose to specify an exact height or width of selected rows or columns. By selecting the Optimal option on either menu, Calc will adjust to include the tallest or the widest data value within the selected rows or columns.


You can change the height or width of multiple rows or columns by selecting several cells in the rows or columns before making your adjustments. Press and hold the Ctrl key and click to select multiple rows or columns that are not adjacent to one another.

Request a Format Change

To change a selected cell's font, alignment, display format, or background, select Format, Cells from the menu. The Format Cells dialog box will then appear. You can also right-click over any selected cell or range to display the Format Cells dialog box, where you can modify the cell's formatting, such as alignment, font, background, and colors.

Adjust the Data Display

The Numbers tab on the Format Cells dialog box enables you to change the way data appears on the sheet. For example, if you want a dollar sign and cents to appear in cells that contain currency amounts, you would click the Currency category and then select the currency format you want to see from the Format list. Various Number and Percent formats are available so you can control how numbers appear. For example, some people prefer to display negative amounts with parentheses around them, whereas others prefer to see the minus sign. You control how your sheets display numbers with the Number formats.


No matter how you change the display with Format Cells , the actual data inside each cell never changesonly the display of the data changes.

If you use dates or times inside your spreadsheets, you'll almost always want to change the format of those values by using the Date and Time categories. Often, companies have standards they enforce for published reports that indicate how date and time values are to display, and you'll want to format yours accordingly . You'll also see scientific and other formats available to you for many different data displays.

The Format Cells dialog box shows a preview of how your selected data will look as you select from the various formatting options.

You can control the number of decimal places displayed as well as whether you want leading zeros to appear (such as 012.31 ). The Thousands separator option determines whether a comma (or decimal, depending on your country) separates digits to show the places of the thousands, such as 34,321,567.43 , and the Negative numbers red option ensures that negative values stand out when you need them to.

Change the Font

Click the Font tab to select the Font page in the Format Cells dialog box. You can choose from various fonts and typefaces (such as bold and italics), and you can specify a font size, in points, to use. See 12 Apply Character Formatting for information on fonts, typefaces, and point sizes.

Many of these font- related options, such as bold and italics, as well as various number formats, are also available on the Formatting toolbar.


Additional font-related options are available if you click the Font Effects tab. You can change the color of text and data that you display as well as control a shadow effect, which may be beneficial to make your titles stand out.

Change the Alignment

Not only can you left-justify, center-justify, and right-justify data within cells from the Alignment page of the Format Cells dialog box, you can also orient text vertically or to whatever angle you prefer.

When you select the Vertically Stacked check box, Calc changes all selected cells to vertical orientation.

If you want to angle text, such as titles at the tops of columns, select a different Degrees value or click the rotating text pointer to the angle you desire . When you click OK , Calc rotates the selected text to your chosen degree. Although you don't want to overdo this text-slanting capability of Calc's, a 45-degree angle for certain column headings really makes them stand out. All the text within the selected cells that you choose to slant prints at the angle you choose.

Although not as common in spreadsheets as they are in Writer documents, you can add special borders to certain cells from the Borders tab of the Format Cells dialog box. The Background tab controls the background color of selected cells, and the Cell Protection tab controls the protection of data to ensure that it cannot be changed (see 70 Protect Spreadsheet Data ). 2, Firefox, and Thunderbird for Windows All in One
Sams Teach Yourself 2, Firefox and Thunderbird for Windows All in One
ISBN: 0672328089
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 232
Authors: Greg Perry © 2008-2017.
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