Tips To Make Spreadsheets More Professional

You can make spreadsheets look professional by observing proper formatting and using professional templates. Hence, you must know how to maximize your spreadsheet’s features to format your spreadsheets properly.

You may have been using spreadsheets for years, yet you feel that you haven’t maximized their use. That is alright. If you are interested in enhancing your skills in making spreadsheets, you have come to the right place.

This article will give you tips to make spreadsheets more professional. You can make better Excel sheets when you can properly format them coupled with simple designs.

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12 Tips For Professional Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets

You can make spreadsheets professional by following the tips below:

1. Proper Alignment

Observe proper alignment when your spreadsheet contains multiple tables, charts, or graphs. Align all these elements in the same row to make the whole spreadsheet look professional.

Aside from uniformly aligning your charts, tables, and graphs, you should also properly align your text. It is conventionally acceptable to align text using the left alignment while the numbers use the right alignment. Avoid centering the text, for this looks unbalanced and difficult to read.

2. Title: Bold And Center

You should emphasize the title and all header rows in your spreadsheet. This is done to highlight and differentiate them from the other data content.

There are three ways you can make the headings stand out. Choose only one of the three methods listed below and use it consistently throughout your worksheet for a professional look. Here are three ways to make your headings stand out:

  • Using bold fonts
  • Using bigger font sizes
  • Changing the background color of the header cells

3. Be Consistent With Fonts And Colors

When deciding on a color scheme for your spreadsheet, it is best to stick with a maximum of three colors. As much as possible, use dark text on a light background. Use colors that are not too bright or distracting for your Excel spreadsheets, and the text should be readable.

Calibri and Arial fonts are highly recommended to be used for spreadsheets as these are easy to read and less distracting to look at. Also, these two fonts are available by default on most computers, so sharing the sheets with others will not change your sheets.

Avoid using more than three font sizes. Use the same size for the content of your sheets except for the title and headers. Always remain consistent and use the same font style, size, and format on all worksheets.

You don’t have to worry about the font style and size you need to use for your sheets. You can choose from collection of spreadsheet templates. Each template has a designated font style, size, and color scheme.

4. Create Your Own Margins

A professional-looking spreadsheet is easy and breathable to look at. You can do this by utilizing the grid lines for natural and even spaced spreadsheets. You can make your own margins by keeping row 1 and column A empty.

5. Leave Empty Cells

The goal of leaving empty cells in your spreadsheet is to make it easily readable. You will be encoding tons of data, and leaving some cells empty can serve as a break, giving your sheets breathable space and looks pleasing to the eyes.

6. Zebra Stripes

You can also make use of zebra stripes to make your spreadsheet easier to read. The zebra stripe pattern is coloring alternating rows in your spreadsheet.

Apply zebra stripes only on rows that contain data to make the sheets look professional and easy to read. Do not color an entire row.

7. Line Breaks And Text Wrapping

An Excel spreadsheet is not designed to format long texts like Microsoft Word. Excel will input data (text) even if it seems they will go on forever. This certainly doesn’t look professional at all.

What you can do is use the wrap text tab in Excel. With the wrap text feature, all the text will “deform or warp” to fit inside the cell. The cell size will re-adjust to accommodate the warped text.

If you want to warp multiple cells, you must select cells and click wrap text. It will automatically warp all text encoded in those cells.

If you have been using Excel for quite some time, you know the merge cells feature. Using this feature makes your spreadsheet look good. However, you may encounter problems with calculations and cell references with data in merged cells. It is best to avoid merging cells if you can.

8. Autofit Rows and Columns

Auto-fitting columns and rows in your spreadsheet can make it look more professional. The auto-fitting function can be used when the text is not long enough but overlaps with other cells. Instead of text wrapping, you can autofit the rows or columns.

To format cells, you must select the cells you want to autofit. Then, click the Format tab and select Autofit Row Height and Autofit Column Width.

Your rows and columns should be well-fitted on several print pages. Set up your worksheets so that they are printable on a single page. You can use the print preview feature before printing to check how it will look when printed.

9. Use of Tables, Graphs, Or Charts

Using tables, graphs, and charts help to better display data. Spreadsheets are full of text and adding tables, graphs, or charts help improve visualization and organization. It also helps with comprehension and understanding on the part of anyone reading the sheet.

10. File Name Convention

Properly labeling your spreadsheets will definitely add a plus to your sheet’s professional look. Using a consistent file name convention for all your spreadsheets helps make them easily accessible and identifiable.

11. Data Validation

If you are making a spreadsheet full of lists, the data validation tab can help you manage all these lists more efficiently. This feature is also a good way of restricting encoded data by specifying a data range. Click on the data tab to access the data validation tab.

12. Don’t Be Too Creative

The main goal of your spreadsheet is to provide clear and understandable data. Your boss, client, or teammates will not give so much attention to your design. They will still focus on the content of your sheets.

As much as possible, exercise constraints, and don’t go overboard with your sheet design. Apply minimal designs to your sheets with the goal that the design helps the entire workbook look professional and readable.

What Is An Excel Workbook?

An Excel workbook is a collection of different worksheets or spreadsheets. Creating Excel workbooks or spreadsheets used to be a long and tedious process. You need to manually set up the whole structure, import data, encode formulas for calculations, and much more.

Now, because of pre-made templates, you can save a lot of time working on your sheets. Using a workbook helps make data easier to understand when it is organized correctly in multiple worksheets.

Worksheets are found at the bottom of the workbook. Your workbook can look more professional if you assign tab color coding to make browsing your spreadsheet easier. Colored tabs help make your spreadsheet look organized.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Can An Excel Spreadsheet Look Professional And Presentable?

An Excel spreadsheet can look professional and presentable through proper formatting and the use of appropriate templates. A properly formatted spreadsheet is aligned correctly, uses consistent font and color, autofits rows or columns, and uses line breaks, to name a few.

2. What Is A Good Spreadsheet Design?

A good spreadsheet design is simple and readable, and the formatting is consistent throughout the Excel sheet. A well-designed spreadsheet is organized and doesn’t look too cluttered. A good spreadsheet design aims to make the sheets workable and efficient above all else.


You can improve your Excel skills by practicing with an Excel sheet as much as you can. There are several useful tips to make your spreadsheet look professional. You won’t be able to remember them all if you don’t try them out.

Keep these tips in mind when working on your next spreadsheet. It will save you more time, and you will be pleased with the results.

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