Applying color to alternate rows makes your spreadsheet data easier to read. In Excel, this is quick and simple to apply by formatting your data as a Table. The row shading is then automatically applied to new rows added to the table.
How to Format Your Data As a Table
Select the range you want to format as a table. Next, click the “Format as Table” button within the “Home” tab and then select the table style you want to use.
If your data range already contains some formatting, it can be a good idea to right-click on the table style and select the “Apply and Clear Formatting” link. This will remove any current formatting before applying the table style.
You will then be prompted for the range to format and whether it has headers. Check that this range is correct, and change it if necessary. Click the “OK” button to proceed.
The table is applied along with shading on alternate rows. This formatting will automatically be applied when new rows are added to the table.
How to Edit the Row Shading Color
If you aren’t happy with the color used for the row shading, you can change it. You cannot directly edit the existing Excel table styles, but you can create your own or duplicate an existing style and edit that.
Let’s take a look at duplicating and changing the table style we’ve applied to this data range. Begin by clicking on a cell within the table.
From the “Table Design” tab (last tab on the ribbon), right-click the style in the “Table Styles” gallery and then click “Duplicate.”
Enter a name for your new table style.
To edit the row shading, select “First Row Stripe” and then click the “Format” button.
Click the “Fill” tab. Select the color you want to use. The “More Colors” button will provide more specific color options.
Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the window to proceed.
Back in the “Modify Table Style” dialog window, you can make your style the default for the spreadsheet by checking the “Set As Default Style for This Document” box. Click the “OK” button to save your changes.
The duplicated style is created, but it is not applied immediately. Click the “More” button to open the table style gallery.
Select your custom style from the list provided.
Convert Your Table Back to a Range
There are many additional benefits to formatting your Excel data as a Table, so using one is encouraged. However, if you do not want this functionality, you can convert your table back to a range and still keep the alternate row shading.
Click a cell in your table, select the “Table Design” tab (last tab on the Ribbon), and then click “Convert to Range.”
You will be asked whether you’re sure you want to do this. Click the “Yes” button.
Without being a table, it will not automatically apply the shading to rows when they are added. But you can copy the formatting quickly using the Format Painter button, or a similar technique.