Practical Application: Formatting Worksheets & Workbooks in Excel

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Formatting worksheets and workbooks in Excel allows you to add some customization to your spreadsheet. Now, you will get hands-on practice with columns, headers and footers, and watermarks.

Excel Formatting

Often, even when it comes to spreadsheets, there are special considerations you need to make to incorporate all the components you need. The ability to format worksheets and workbooks can help you along the way!

In the course, Excel: Skills Development & Training, you learned a lot of tips and tricks for working inside a worksheet or workbook in Microsoft Excel. Now, in this activity, you will use what you know to analyze several scenarios and build your own Excel skills.

Specifically, in the next section, we are going to look at activities that focus on formatting skills in Excel. Analyze each scenario given using the questions provided to think through (or even write down) your thoughts. Then, get your spreadsheet program ready as you complete your own version of the scenarios provided. Ready?

Formatting in Excel Scenarios


Laura has been working on combining data from her company's retail stores in her market for the past two weeks. She set up a spreadsheet to make data entry easier and to provide a way to organize her thoughts. Just as she is closing out the spreadsheet, she receives an email from the store in Ashland. They forgot to send in their numbers! Is Laura going to have to re-do her entire project or is there some way around this?

  1. What are Laura's options for adding the new data to her worksheet?
  2. How many methods are available to Laura to accomplish the necessary task?
  3. Where are the tools located to help make Laura's addition easier?

Good news! Laura does not have to re-create her document or, really, do much additional work. All she needs to do is insert an extra row or column. She can attempt this one of two ways. First, she can right-click on an existing row or column reference letter or number (these are the identifiers along the top and left side of the spreadsheet), and select Insert to add a row (above or below the row you clicked) or column (to the left or the right of the column you clicked). Removing rows and columns can be performed in the same way just by selecting Delete. The second method involves selecting a column or row and then inserting (or deleting) columns or rows by navigating to the ''Cells'' menu of the Home Tab on the Menu Bar, at the top of the window.

It's your turn. Since right-clicking to add is likely the easiest choice, let's practice that. Navigate to an existing column on your spreadsheet and right-click the column header B, for example. Select to insert a column to the right of your chosen column. You should now see it has been added. Now, right-click on the new column you created and select delete to dispose of the newly-created column.

Headers and Footers

Now that Laura has all of the data from every retail store, she needs to put some finishing touches on her spreadsheet. Specifically, she would like to enter the date, quarter and region that the worksheet data is examining. She thought about just hand writing this on the sheets, but there must be another way to incorporate it, right?

  1. How can Laura incorporate this information in a neat and organized way?
  2. What tools does she need to access in order to perform this task?
  3. Where are these tools located?

The simplest way to incorporate Laura's request is to add headers and footers to her document. These tools allow the user to add important data about the contents of the spreadsheet, such as page numbers, titles, dates and more. To get started, she must navigate to Page Layout View. Once she does that, a box at the top (header) and bottom (footer) of the document will appear. Now that these are available, Laura can click in each to add data. Once she clicks in one of the text boxes, the Design menu for headers and footers will open along the top of the program. From here, she can select pre-determined information to add such as date or page numbers. She can also type her own text into the boxes.

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