How to Make Excel Tables Look Good (8 Effective Tips)

Excel Tables are extremely useful for organizing and showcasing data. They can also be formatted using the features available in Excel, in order to be visually striking and appealing. We are going to look at some handy tips to make Tables in Excel look great.

So, let’s get started with a simple example to illustrate how to create a table in Excel and then how to format this Table, using some formatting features and tricks.


Download Practice Workbook

You can download the following practice workbook, where we have placed the formatted table and original table in separate worksheets.


How to Create an Excel Table

Let’s first have a brief idea of creating an Excel table. After that, we will see how to get Excel tables in a good or professional look.

Apply the following steps to create a table in Excel.

Steps:

  • Select a cell from the data set.

A sample of Excel dataset

  • The Table option is found on the Insert tab, in the Tables group.

creating an excel table

  • Excel will automatically pick data for you. Check the box next to ‘My table contains headers,’ then click OK.

The create table window

  • Excel will format a lovely table for you. This may still appear to be a standard data range to you. However, numerous sophisticated capabilities are now available with the press of a button.

a sample Excel table

Or,

  • Choose your desired dataset and click the button CTRL+T.

creating Excel table using keyboard shortcut Ctrl+T


8 Ways to Make Excel Tables Look Good/Professional

There can be many ways to make Excel tables with an extraordinary look. In this article, we will discuss 8 basic ways to do it.

1. Use Built-In Table Styles to Get an Instant Good-Looking Table

You can quickly change the appearance of your newly created Excel Table, using the built-in Table styles in the following way.

  • Select any cell in the Footwork table.
  • Then go to Table DesignTable Styles and click on the drop-down arrow.
  • Now, choose one of the built-in Table Styles available.
  • You can get a preview by just hovering over each style.

In this case, we have selected Table Style Medium 28 as shown below.

choosing a suitable table design to make a good looking Excel Tables

After applying this style, we get the following table.

The colors used in the Table are drawn from the default Office theme.


2. Change Workbook Theme

The colors provided in the Table Styles options are drawn from the default Office theme. In order to quickly change the options provided there, one can change the theme of the Workbook.

Read More: Navigating Excel Table: Selecting Parts of a Table and Moving a Table

  • Go to Page LayoutThemes → and click on the drop-down arrow below Themes and select another theme, that is not the default Office theme, in this case, the Slice theme.

choosing a suitable good looking tables theme from the Page Layout tab in Excel

  • The Table Style draws its colors from the Slice theme and the effect of the change on the actual Excel Table is shown below.

a well formatted Excel table with professional look

  • To see the change that has been affected on all the Table Styles options, through changing the theme from Office to Slice, select one cell in the table and go to Table ToolsDesign → Table Styles → click on the drop-down arrow, in order to see the alternate color schemes drawn from the new theme.

create Excel table with good look using different themes


3. Edit Workbook Theme Color

You can also alternatively, change the theme colors yourself, or set the theme colors yourself in order to effect changes in the Table Styles options.

  • With any theme currently selected, go to Page Layout → Themes → and click on the drop-down next to Colors.

Editing Workbook Theme Color to get Excel Tables with professional look

  • Choose the Customize Colors option.

Customize colors to make Excel tables look better

  • In the Create New Theme Colors Dialog Box, select the drop-down arrow next to Text/Background – Dark 2 and choose More Colors.

  • Select the Custom Tab and enter the following values R 87, G 149, and B 35, in order to set this dark green color and click OK.

  • In the Create New Theme Colors Dialog Box, select the drop-down next to Text/Background – Light 2 and choose More Colors.

create new theme colors

  • Select the Custom Tab and enter the following values R 254, G 184, and B 10, in order to set this orange color and click OK.

colors window

  • In the Create New Theme Colors Dialog Box, select the drop-down next to Accent 1 and choose More Colors.

  • Select the Custom Tab and enter the following values R 7, G 106, and B 111, in order to set this dark turquoise color and click OK.

  • Now, in the Create New Theme Colors Dialog Box, select the drop-down next to Accent 2 and choose More Colors.

creating new theme colors to get a better look of Excel tables

  • Select the Custom Tab and enter the following values R 254, G 0, and B 103, in order to set this pink color and click Ok.

  • Give your new customized theme color, set a name, and click Save.

  • The effect of changing the theme colors to this customized set is immediately reflected in the Footwork Table, as shown below.

Professional Excel tables with better look

  • It is also reflected in the Table Styles Options, going to Table ToolsDesignTable Styles and clicking on the drop-down arrow, in order to see the new Table Styles drawn from the new customized theme colors set.


4. Clearing Style from a Table

You can also totally clear the style from a Table, by selecting one cell in the Table and going to Table ToolsDesignTable Styles, and clicking on the drop-down arrow next to Table Styles.

Clearing Style from a Table

  • Any formatting associated with the specific table style chosen is now cleared as shown below.

a table with no style


5. Create Custom Table Style

You can create your own Table Style in Excel and format the header row, columns in the Table, and rows in the Table precisely.

  • With a cell in the Table selected, go to Table ToolsDesignTable Styles and click on the drop-down arrow next to Table Styles and select New Table Style.

Create Custom Style for Excel tables

  • One can now format individual elements of the Table, using the New Table Style Dialog Box.

new table style window

  • The first element we are going to format is the Whole Table element. Select the Whole Table and then choose Format.
  • The Format Cells Dialog Box should appear, choose the Font Tab, and under font style choose Bold Italic.

format cells window

  • Go to the Fill Tab, under the Background Color option, choose More Colors.

  • Select the Custom Tab, set R 133, G 229, and B 255 as shown below, and then click Ok.

  • Click Ok again.
  • Now select the Header Row element as shown below and click Format.

  • The Format Cells Dialog Box should appear as before, choose the Font Tab, and under Font Style choose Bold and change the font color to White, Background 1.

  • Choose the Border Tab, select the thick line style and the color Gray – 25%, Background 2, Darker 50%.

  • Choose Outline, in order to outline the entire Header Row with this border formatting.

  • Then select the Fill Tab, under Background Color, choose More Colors.

  • Select the Custom Tab, set R 11, G 135, and B 52 as shown below, and then click Ok.

  • Click Ok again.
  • Give your new Table Style a name and check the Set as default table style for this document option, in order to ensure that all tables created in the workbook have this format, in order to contribute to a streamlined look.

  • Applying this Custom Table Style to the Footwork Table results in the following look.


6. Add a Total Row and Turn the Filter Button Off

One can also add a Total Row and turn the filter buttons of the Table off, quite easily.

  • With one cell in your table selected, go to Table ToolsDesignTable Style Options and check Total Row in order to add a Total Row, and uncheck the Filter Button in order to turn off the filter buttons of the header row as shown below.

Add a Total Row and Turn the Filter Button Off to give Excel tables a better look

As a result, the table will have the following look.

Excel table with no filter button


7. Insert Table Slicers

Table Slicers allow one to filter the data in the Table according to the column categories, these slicers can also be formatted to match the overall Table formatting.

  • First things first, format the Table with a certain style, by going to Table ToolsDesignTable Styles and choosing Table Style Medium 4 (make sure the theme is the default Office theme).

  • Now the entire table has the format with this style as shown below.

  • With one cell in the table selected, go to Table ToolsDesignToolsInsert Slicer.

Insert Table Slicers in Excel

  • Choose one or more slicers to filter the data by, in this case, we’ll choose Footwork Evaluation as shown below and then click Ok.

  • The Slicer with the default style appears as shown below.

  • One can change the style of the slicer using one of the built-in styles. With the slicer selected, go to Slicer ToolsOptionsSlicer Styles and select one of the default built-in Styles and choose Slicer Style Light 2 as shown below.

  • This changes the Slicer Style to the following format.
  • With the Slicer selected, go to Slicer ToolsOptionsButtons and Change the number of columns to 3 and then with the Slicer still selected, go to Slicer ToolsOptionsSize and Change the height of the slicer to 1 inch and the width to 3 inches as shown below.

  • With the slicer still selected, we now want to create a new custom Slicer Style to match the Table Style we chose. So, we go to Slicer ToolsOptionsSlicer Styles and we click on the drop-down next to Slicer styles and select New Slicer Style as shown below.

  • In the New Slicer Style Dialog Box, choose the Whole Slicer element and then click Format.

  • In the Fill Tab, under Background Color, choose Fill Effects.

Format slicer element window

  • Using the Fill Effects Dialog Box, Change Color 1 to White, Background 1, Darker 25%, and change Color 2 to White, Background 1 as shown below.

  • Similarly, add more colors.

  • Under Shading, styles make sure Horizontal is selected and choose the third variant as shown below.

Fill effects window

  • Click Ok and then select the Border Tab, choose the thin line style and White Background 1, Darker 35%, and then select Outline as shown below.

  • Choose a proper outline.

  • Click Ok and then name your newly created Slicer Style as shown below and click Ok.

  • Apply the new Slicer Style you just created.
  • Go to ViewShow → and uncheck Gridlines in order to see the full effect of the formatting.


8. Convert a Table Back to a Range

In order to convert a Table back to a range, select a cell in the Table as shown below and go to Table ToolsDesignToolsConvert to Range.

Convert a Table Back to a Range to change look of tables

  • A Dialog Box should appear asking you if you want to convert the Table to a normal range, select Yes.

"Do you want to convert the table to a normal range?"

  • The Table should now be converted to a normal range, but with the formatting selected still intact as shown below.


Conclusion

You can create and format tables extensively in Excel, it is often necessary to format tables and a professional look for visual appeal or printing purposes. Please feel free to comment and tell us about your Table formatting tricks and tips for Excel. For more Excel-related articles, visit our blog.


Further Readings

Tags:

Taryn N

Taryn N

Taryn is a Microsoft Certified Professional, who has used Office Applications such as Excel and Access extensively, in her interdisciplinary academic career and work experience. She has a background in biochemistry, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and biofuels. She enjoys showcasing the functionality of Excel in various disciplines. She has over ten years of experience using Excel and Access to create advanced integrated solutions.

2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Krishnaprasad Menon Dec 19, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    Exceldemy team & its captain Mr.Kawser Ahmed is doing an excellent job by imparting knowledge on various Excel topics of importance. i like the informative & quality articles provided by Ms.Taryn. Thanks. Keep it up.

Leave a reply

ExcelDemy
Logo