cell). Adding the Bottom Border icon completes the list
of border choices.
THE LOOK OF THE SCREEN
There is quite a bit you can do with the look of the screen that
can make your model look spiffy. But be careful: if you are over-
enthusiastic about changing the look of the screen, you can
get one that looks cluttered and visually unattractive. You can,
however, leave well enough alone. If you donâ€™t feel like making
Starting Out 29
any changes to Excelâ€™s look, you can skip the following few
subsections and pick up again on the calculation settings.
The starting screen in Excel has faint lines marking the rows and
columns. These gridlines make it easy to locate items on the
screen, but you might want to make them disappear for a cleaner
and â€˜â€˜coolerâ€™â€™ look. It is still quite easy to find the row and
column address on the screen because Excel turns the row and
column coordinates of the current active cell (at the left and the
top of the screen) into bold type. And, of course, the cursor still
goes from cell to cell, whether the gridlines are there or not.
To make the gridlines disappear, do the following:
Click on Tools.
Click on Options.
Select the View tab.
Uncheck the Gridlines check box.
A style is a named format that you can apply to the spreadsheet
cells. Through styles, you can change the look of your spread-
sheet quickly. A change in a style will change all the cells
formatted in that style.
In a new worksheet, the standard style is called â€˜â€˜Normal.â€™â€™
This is the default style that all cells have. You can change the
Normal style to carry any attributes that you want, or you can
create new styles of your own that have those attributes. You can
delete the new styles that you have created, but you cannot
delete the Normal style.
To look at the settings for the Styles, follow these steps:
1. Click on Format in the menu bar.
2. Click on Style. . .. You will see the user form shown in
Figure 3-4 for the Normal style.
The checked boxes show the attributes that will be applied
with this style. The default setting applies all these attributes.
The General setting is an automatic formatting feature for deter-
mining how numbers are displayed. For example, the number of
decimal places shown in General follows the number of places
that you enter from your keyboard. If you enter a number with a
% sign at the end, the cell then holds a percent column.
This is a convenient feature for working up a small table in
Excel. However, for larger models where you want a greater
control of how the contents are displayed, the Number attribute
to use might be as shown in Figure 3-5.
The settings are for:
One decimal place.
Use the separator for thousands (e.g., 1234.0 appears as
Parentheses for negative numbers. Choose whether you
want the negative numbers to be shown in black or in red.
You can leave the Alignment settings as they are. The General
setting for Horizontal means that text will be formatted as
flush left and numbers will be formatted flush right. The
Starting Out 31
Bottom setting for Vertical means that all your text or numbers
will appear at the bottom. This does not matter when the rows
are set for only one line. When you make the row height higher
so that a row can contain more than one line, the Bottom setting
will be obvious. (See Figure 3-6.)
Excelâ€™s default font is Arial, a modern-looking sans serif typeface.
(Sans serif means â€˜â€˜without serifâ€™â€™; a serif is the extra stroke mark-
ing the end of a stroke in a letter.) Another choice would be
Times Roman, a serif typeface which will give your printouts a
more classic look. Excel has other typefaces to choose from, but be
careful that you donâ€™t go overboard and choose an overly ornate
typeface. When in doubt, keep it simple and stick to the starting
default typeface. (See Figure 3-7.)
One consideration, aside from your own visual preferences,
is how well the type prints out in your printer. Arial is a
â€˜â€˜True Typeâ€™â€™ font, and as this user form notes, the same font
will be used on both your printer and your screen. In other
words, what you see is what you get. Other typefaces that are
not True Type may appear different when printed.
Starting Out 33
Font Size Excelâ€™s default font size is 10 points. This font is large
enough for fairly easy reading on the screen, but often Excel
screens are set to a zoom of 75 percent so that the screen can
hold more columns.
I would recommend setting the starting font size to 8
points. This will give you a font size that is readable but will
still make room for many columns on the screenâ€”and without
your having to make zoom adjustments on every one of your
Border allows you to draw lines on the sides of each cell, or even
diagonally across them, and you can specify the weight and type
of line and the color. Itâ€™s easier to control these borders by actu-
ally changing the cell, rather than applying a style, so you donâ€™t
have to touch anything on the Border user form for styles. (See
Patterns allow you to change the background pattern of a cell.
A pattern can be plain shading. Making a cell look gray is chang-
ing its pattern. Like borders, it is easier to control a cellâ€™s shading
by changing the cell, so we donâ€™t need to touch anything on the
Pattern user form. (See Figure 3-9.)
Locking a cell means that its contents cannot be changed, so this
is one way to protect a modelâ€™s formulas from being tampered
with. Hiding a cell means that while it shows the results of
the formula it contains, the formula itself cannot be seen in the
As the note says, if you choose to protect or hide your cells,
then you have to turn on the protection by going to Tools,
Protection, and Protect Sheet. A password is optional. One warn-
ing: turning on protection for the sheet means that you cannot
change the contents or the formats of the cell unless you turn the
Starting Out 35
protection off. This is a little inconvenient, and it also means that
if you start to put macros into your model to make it go through
automatic changes, a protected sheet will cause the macro to
stop. (See Figure 3-10.)
Styles are global settings and, as with anything global, you
can also set local styles that override the global settings. Thus
you can have a â€˜â€˜Normalâ€™â€™ style set to the Arial font, but you can
change a cell or cells by specifying a, say, Times Roman font for
that cell. (Potentially, you can select all the cells on a sheet and
apply a local setting like this, thus fully overwriting the global
To change the local setting to override the style, do this:
1. Select the cell.
2. Select Format from the menu.
3. Select Cells and you will see the screen shown as