Basic Excel – Excel in Colour…are your spreadsheets colourful?

Basic Excel – Excel in Colour: looking at spreadsheets and their increasing use of colour

Basic Excel: Excel iconIt seems to us that as Microsoft update their versions i.e. 2010, 2013 and 365 that the use of colour in Excel in particular is increasing. This article is meant to give you an idea of where you can make an impact in Excel using some of these new features.



You can now sort by cell colour or font colour. Simply go to the Data tab, Sort button and add levels choosing not values to sort by but by a type of colour.


Conditional formatting

By selecting a range of cells you can apply again cell or font colour to these based upon certain criteria e.g. greater than, between, less than or even on a formula to colour code the whole row. Home Tab, Conditional formatting button allows for this and also allows Data Bars and icon sets too!



Clearly charting by nature will be colourful but did you know that in the recent versions of Excel you can chart in at least 4 different ways:

  • By using the QA (Quick Analysis button) at the bottom of your selected range is quick to choose a chart which suits
  • By Using Sparklines you can create a chart in a cell
  • By using the ever popular F11 key
  • By using Insert Recommended Charts


Pivot Charts

Again these are simple to create and with them you get a Pivot Table too! Use the Insert Tab and Pivot Charts. Try using the new Timeline and Data slicer for ease of use for filtering your data on the Pivot Chart or Table.

One last thing for you experts or lovers of Excel; we launched this summer to good feedback our new Excel Master Class Bronze course. It’s for those who’ve attended either or both of our Intermediate or Advanced courses.

If you and your colleagues are interested in any of our courses mentioned above, or even going back to our Basic Excel course, then please contact us in the usual way at or see our web site for details.


If you liked this post, why not take a look at our previous one on data analysis in Excel?