Microsoft Excel: How To Add And Changing Borders On Cells

Learning to present the data in your spreadsheets clearly is extremely important. Unclear and poorly laid out spreadsheets are much more likely to contain errors.

Excel contains lots of data validation tools but it is better to get your calculations right first time than it is to rely on Excel catching an error. Obviously the larger your spreadsheet is the more important it is to format the spreadsheet clearly. We cover managing larger spreadsheets in our more advanced Excel courses.

To make data easier to view or to define it you may decide to add borders to your Excel spreadsheet. Here is an example of some of our data without any borders:

Excel data before borders

Firstly we want to add lines around every single cell so:

  1. Make sure that you are on the ‘Home’ tab
  2. Highlight the area you want to apply the borders
  3. Click the arrow on the button that looks like a little window, this is call the ‘Borders’ button, this will open up a drop down list.
  4. click on the ‘All Borders’ choice

Borders 2

This will then look like this:

Borders 3

If you want to show up that the first row is headings, you may wish to put a thicker line around them. To do this

  • Again highlight the cells you want the border around and click on the arrow on the ‘Borders’
  • Click on the Thick Box Border. This is purely an outer border and will not make of the internal line thick.

Borders 5

Your spreadsheet will then look like this:

Borders 6

This looks better but still not quite right. To finish it off it needs a thick border around the complete table.

  • Highlight the whole table and click on the arrow on the ‘Borders’
  • Click Thick Box Border

This has now put a thicker border around the whole thing and just to finish it off I’ve made the heading text bold. This is how it will look when printed as well.

Borders 7

There are other ways of achieving the same outcome and there are many more things you can do with borders. Our Guildford and London based Excel beginners courses cover this in much more detail.

To learn more about formatting click here.

To learn more about renaming a worksheet click here.