You will commonly find it in good practice to highlight every other row in Excel. It is a common practice for better aesthetics. It’s more of a visual trick to improve readability so that when one scans through some data, it can prevent them from getting lost. My beginner Excel classes teach the benefits of this, as well as how to apply it to your own spreadsheets.
Sure, you can sit there and manually highlight each row but when data start getting longer and requires frequent updating, this will get tedious fast. Over the course of other Excel training materials, we’ve discussed the benefits of using automation in Excel.
There really are two powerful approaches that you want to consider:
- Using tables
- Formula + conditional formatting
I’ll cover them both here.
The first option involves Excel Table functionality. While this is good, it can be something of a can of worms if you don’t know what you are doing and use a lot of formulas. However, if it’s for the sake of keeping your data neat and visual, then it’s a great option as not only do you have a lot of format options but the table formatting updates itself. Let’s create this:
1.On a new spreadsheet, select the cell range that you want to highlight the alternate rows for, or press ctrl+A to choose the whole data. For this example, I have entered some data in A1 to D11.
2.On the home tab, locate the styles group and click ‘format as table’ or click the arrow buttons to scroll through the available table styles to view them all. In the example below, I’ve selected table style medium.
Excel will ask you if you want to convert your data into a table format with the following prompt:
- Select ok and your range of data will turn into a table with alternate highlighting in a row:
How Can I Use the Conditional Formatting Option to Highlight the Alternate Row?
The other way to do this which does not involve tables is with the combination of the Excel MOD formula and conditional formatting. This might seem a bit more complex than the method outlined earlier in this Excel tutorial, but it has its own benefits.
- Assuming we have the same data as before, again we go to the home tab and select conditional formatting and a new rule.
- On a new formatting rule window, select “use a formula” to determine which cells to format. In the format values where this formula is just a trueinput box, type the formula =MOD(ROW(),2)=1 manually and then click format open format cells dialogue box.
- Here I have used the formula = MOD(ROW(),2)=1 to highlight every other row in Excel. If you wish to highlight the even rows try a formula like this, = MOD(ROW(),2)=0.
If you wish to highlight alternate columns instead of alternate rows you can use the exact same formula. Only change row() to the column() function.
3.Then on format cells dialogue box, click the fill tab, and select the highlight that you want to use to highlight every other row, and then click ok. This will be preview of filled highlight for your previous new formatting rule window. Click ok to close the new formatting rule dialogue box.
- Finally, here’s what we end up with.
It’s not always as easy to deal with as Tables, but it’s a great option if you want to stay away from Excel tables which come with their own drawbacks. If this concept is a little difficult for you to grasp, you should consider utilizing further Excel classes to advance your knowledge.
That is how to highlight every other row in Excel. We cover these sort of good practice techniques in our Excel training.
Excel Classes Teach Numerous Methods of Formatting
In this portion of our online Excel training, we discussed the different ways to highlight every other row in an Excel spreadsheet. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but any well-rounded Excel classes will teach you these fundamentals. If you need some help in understanding the finer points of this subject, taking further online Excel courses might be needed.