Make Excel Look Like A Columnar Pad

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. Call me old-fashioned, but I rather liked the way the rows in columnar pads used alternating colors. It made it easier to read across the spreadsheet page. Why doesn’t Excel come that way?

A. I don’t know why Excel doesn’t default the rows with alternating colors, but you can easily recreate this effect in your electronic spreadsheet. It takes a few minutes, but once you do it you can save the format as a template and then bring it up with a few mouse clicks. Here’s how to do it:

Open a new worksheet and click on the second row at the far left edge of the window. Now hold down the Ctrl key while you select every other row. Do about 20 or so rows. Then right-click on one of the selected rows and click on Format cells , evoking this menu:

Click on the Patterns tab and select the color of your choice. A light color is best.

If you want more rows formatted like that, instead of coloring one row at a time, copy the formatting for as many subsequent rows as you wish.

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