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Excel Cell Styles

What are Excel Cell Styles?

Cell styles give you a fast way to consistently apply a specified type of formatting to cells that you select in Microsoft Excel

When you want to change background color or font or any other cell properties, it is almost always a better idea to use Styles

(rather than applying cell formatting the tedious, mistake-prone, manual way)

Cell Styles are more easily demonstrated than explained, so the fastest way to learn is to simply open Excel, and try it for yourself.


How to use your

Systems2win Excel Styles

Use Systems2win Styles the same way you use any Excel Styles

In the Excel Ribbon bar, select the Home tab then in the Cell Styles section, simply hover your mouse over any Style and you will instantly see how that style would affect your selected cell(s).

Keep hovering over different styles until you find the one you want, then click it to apply the style to your selected cell(s).

Try it for yourself.

It's really, really easy.

Excel Cell Styles

What formats are applied?

A single style might apply only one attribute

(such as cell background color)

or it might apply a dozen or more attributes

(such as font type size and color, border type thickness and color, cell protection, alignment, number format, decimal places, and more.)

Tip: You can tell which attributes a style does or does not affect by right clicking the style, and choosing 'Modify'

Using your Systems2win Styles template

In addition to Excel's usual Styles features, your Systems2win menu also has a Styles template (Styles.xlsx)that make it even easier to use and learn about the special styles that are common to all of your Systems2win Excel templates.

Go ahead and open it now

Systems2win menu > Styles

Excel Ribbon > Systems2win tab> Styles

If you don't yet own a license,
you can download your free trial now.

Styles to change background colors

The first section of your Styles.xlsx template highlights...

4 categories of Systems2win styles

1) Styles that change background color (only)

As a rule... we try to apply the least amount of formatting...

thereby leaving you as much freedom as possible to then apply any other cell formatting that might best fit your unique data.

All of the Systems2win styles that have a name that starts with '2winBack' will apply only the background color thereby leaving you as much freedom as possible for any other formatting.

Excel styles - background colors

2) Styles that you should never edit

There are 3 styles that you should never edit in any of your Systems2win templates.

2winBack1 and 2winCalc both have the same shade of light blue color

(2winCalc also has a light grey pattern)

and always provide a visual cue that the cell contains a formula

and you don't want to accidentally overwrite formulas... so don't edit those blue cells.

Learn about additional ways that your Systems2win templates help you avoid accidentally overwriting formulas.

2winBackPattern has a grey background with a prominent pattern.

This style is often used to mask out cells that don't contain formulas, but should not be edited (for other reasons).

3) Styles for Data Input


Whenever you see a pink double-border cell in any Systems2win template, you know that you should start your data entry there.

These cells contain default data that will be required before any other data can make any sense.

For example:

You need to enter your Units of Measure before your data can make any sense.
Does the number 5 mean 5 seconds? 5 minutes? 5 hours?
You first need to enter your desired Units of Measure in the pink double-border cells.


These cell have a VERY light pink shade, and always have a border.

They are always unprotected, and always used for human data entry.

2winBackClear and 2winBackWhite

Most templates would look unnecessarily cluttered if the data entry cells were anything other than white.

Excel Cell Styles template

You'll get a lot more out of this training if you have your Styles.xlsx template
open in front of you

If using 2winBackClear, you can optionally print the grid lines (or not)

Excel ribbon > Page Layout tab >
Page Titles > Sheet > Print Gridlines

If using 2winBackWhite, (or any other background color),
then the only way to see gridlines is to use borders:

Excel ribbon > Home tab > Font section > Borders

Learning Exercise: Do It

You're not going to retain much by just passively reading...

Go ahead... open up Excel, and groove in the muscle memory to ensure that you actually remember how to deal with gridlines and borders so that you don't get slowed down when you're doing real work

4) Colors for Conditional Formatting

The bold red, yellow, and green colors are usually reserved for conditional formatting, but the styles are available to apply for other purposes too.


Styles for Section Headers

Major Section Breaks

For major section breaks, you can use any of the styles that have a name that starts with '2winBack'

The most popular styles for section breaks are 2winBack2, 2winbHead, or 2winBack6

You will usually want to apply top and bottom borders to your section breaks and will usually want to use a large bold font.

styles section headers

Minor Section Breaks

In many of your Systems2win templates…
the first thin column is often pre-formatted with style 2winSubHead

which makes it VERY fast and convenient to add sub-headings (that don't word wrap), and then your regular data starts in the second column, (and might optionally use word wrap).

Word wrap:
Right-click > Format Cells > Alignment > Wrap Text

Tip: You can easily change the font size and/or color after you start with style 2winSubHead, which is the only Systems2win style that affects only font - not background color.

Thin Gold Lines

The styles 2winThinHorizontal and 2winThinVert do more than just look nice.

They also have features to help keep your data correct (even as your data changes).

Learn more about Systems2win styles for Thin Gold Lines.


Text Colors

This section of your Styles.xlsx template provides you with Systems2win's text color palette.

The text colors used in your Systems2win templates have been scientifically chosen to be readable by people with disabilities even when used with any of the Systems2win Background colors (above)

Learn more about the many ways that your Systems2win templates are accessible to people with disabilities.

Styles - text colors

How to select text colors

Most Excel users choose from the Theme Colors that first appear when you select

Excel Ribbon > Home tab > Font Color

Microsoft has, however, changed their default palette of Theme Colors several times over the years always choosing a faddish palette of colors that is completely incompatible with the colors that were in fashion the last time that Microsoft decided to change the palette.

You are usually wiser to to use Standard Colors

which are standard web colors that will never change

colors more

Many of Systems2win's colors can be easily chosen from the Standard window that appears when you select

Excel Ribbon > Home tab > Font Color > More Colors

Simply click the correct color, then click OK.

For Dark Red, Red, Orange, and Pink, you can either:

1) Choose a shade that is somewhat close, or

2) To get an exact match

Select the Custom tab, then enter the RGB codes.

colors standard

Use everything you learn about these Excel styles
on every one of your Systems2win Excel templates for continuous process improvement



to empower every team member to improve every process in your organization

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Learning Experiments

How to Apply Multiple Styles to a Single Cell

After applying one style, you can optionally:

  1. Apply manual cell formatting
  2. Apply another style

Perhaps your first style affected only background color, and now you want to apply another style to apply font, or protection, or borders...

For example, if a cell contains only a hyperlink, then Excel's default behavior is to automatically change the style of that cell to Excel's default style called 'Hyperlink'.

So you might want to reapply the original style that matches the surrounding cells.

Try it

Try it on your own computer.

Make a cell into a hyperlink, then apply a style to that cell.

Learning Experiment: Cutting a cell that contains a style

Cut some cells (CTRL+X) and paste them somewhere else (CTRL+V)

Notice that the cells that were cut have returned to the default Normal style.

(which has a clear background)

So now you might need to reformat the cut cells to match their surrounding cells either by applying styles to match the surrounding cells, or by copying and pasting similar cells.

Try it

Try it on your own computer.

Learning Experiment: Add or modify styles

First format the cell the way you want it to be with your new style, then...

Home tab > Styles (group) > dropdown list > New Cell Style... > Type in a new Style Name

Then uncheck the boxes for everything but the few attributes that you want your style to affect.

Then click OK.

Tip: You usually want your styles to change as few attributes as possible.

Tip: To add or modify styles — every sheet in the workbook must be unprotected

To Do List Video
with Learning Exercises
for Excel and features common to ALL Systems2win templates

Try it

Add or modify a style on your own computer.


More hands on learning

Watch the training video for the To Do List for a demonstration of how to use styles for different types of section headers and then do the hands on learning exercises on the 'Sample' sheet of your 'To Do List' template.






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