In my cavalcade on table formatting, I approved how to transform your changeless abstracts into a simple yet adult database in a amount of seconds. If you don’t apperceive how to use table formatting, go apprehend that cavalcade and afresh appear back. Otherwise, your abstracts will attending like one of those housewives who goes to grocery abundance with curlers and a moo moo antic red lipstick.
Enough chatter. Let’s jump in. If you appetite to chase along, you can download the Excel file. (Just bang the Download button in the upper-right bend of your browser window. Don’t ask me why Dropbox sticks it up there. Developers …)
You would anticipate anybody would use cardinal formatting; it’s so rudimentary. But I can’t acquaint you how abounding times I see decimals in archive that should be formatted as percentages or no thousandths separators (a pet annoyance of mine) or two decimal places abounding with 0’s because the cardinal didn’t charge decimals.
These newbie mistakes are uncalled for because Excel placed several cardinal formatting options avant-garde and centermost in the Cardinal area of the Home tab:
For the neophytes, actuality are what those icons mean, from larboard to right:
Convert to currency. This advantage will left-align the dollar attribute and right-align the number. Technically, this is referred to as Accounting formatting. (If you appetite the bill attribute to be ablaze up adjoin the number, don’t use this icon; use the Bill advantage in the drop-down card aloft this row of icons.)
You can additionally accept altered currencies from the drop-down card to the appropriate of the bill icon.
Convert decimals to a percentage.
This is not a comma; it’s a thousandths separator. And if you accept a cardinal greater than 9999 you should use it. (I usually use it for numbers greater than 999.) One awe-inspiring aberration with this button is it adds two decimal places whenever you administer it. Best of the time they’re unwarranted.
If you don’t accept decimals, you should canal the decimals because they aloof add noise. But that’s what the abutting icons are for.
Add decimals. Since I’m not [overly] aberrant or a scientist, I actual rarely use this option.
Lob off exceptionable decimals. I use this all the time. PSA: Amuse — for the adulation of all that is angelic and assessable — get rid of decimals in blueprint axes.
Select the axis, columnist Ctrl-1 (Mac: Command-1) to accompany up the formatting options, and acclimatize it in the Cardinal section. Please.
Both PC and Mac activity added cardinal formatting options from the ribbon. All you accept to do is bang the drop-down card aloft the icons we aloof looked at.
(Yeah, assumption who Microsoft loves more.)
These options are appealing lame. The alone one I use on break is Fraction. Back you see the adaptability you accept with the custom cardinal formatting, you’ll boycott your adenoids at these common offerings.
Okay, this is area it starts to get fun. At the accident of aural cliche, your options are about amaranthine already you apprentice how to bedrock the Custom option.
Pro Tip: To accessible formatting options, aloof baddest the cell(s) you appetite to architecture and columnist Ctrl-1 (Mac: Command-1). This absolutely works for annihilation in Excel: archive elements, images, etc.
Excel gives you absolutely a few options to accept from beneath Cardinal > Date in the Architecture Cells chat (which, again, you get to by acute Ctrl-1 or Command-1 on the Mac). But I’m addicted of the architecture that looks like Aug 13 (no year), which Excel doesn’t offer. No worries. Afterward a few simple principles, you can assemble your own formatting options.
We’ll use August 3, 2012 in our examples below:
ddd: Fri (because it fell on a Friday)
So actuality are some examples of how you can appearance Aug 3, 2012:
Aug 3, 2012: mmm d, eye
Friday, August 3, 2012: dddd, mmmm d, yyyy
Fri. 08.03.12: ddd. mm.dd.yy
I’m consistently attractive for new means to accomplish abstracts pop back I accept to use tables (like if there’s too abundant abstracts to admit into a chart). A abundant archetype of this is webmaster accoutrement data.
If you run a address like the Search Queries address from Google Webmaster Accoutrement (GWT) — by abyssal to Traffic > Search Queries — and bang the “With Change” option, as apparent below, you’ll accept a sea of absolute and abrogating numbers in your export.
Sure, in the GWT interface they’re all colorful, but already you get them into Excel, they transform into the animal duckling of data, and annihilation stands out. But Excel gives you the advantage to behest formatting for positive, abrogating numbers, and alike 0.
To architecture these numbers, you aloof charge to bethink to chase this format: formatting for absolute number; formatting for abrogating number; formatting for 0.
To use colors, Excel has a scattering congenital in:
Note: These aren’t case sensitive.
If you’re a diva and those options are too constricting, Excel offers 56 colors in the anatomy of [color X]. I absolutely acquisition the [green] advantage too light, so I use [color 10] instead. You can acquisition the abounding spectrum of colors in the accessible blueprint on this site.
We’ll agreement with a GWT Search Queries address from the SEER Interactive armpit (the bureau I assignment for). Here’s a sample of a cavalcade that has absolute and abrogating numbers:
To architecture these, the accomplish are simple:
Step 1: Baddest the cavalcade you appetite to format.
Step 2: Pull up the Architecture Cells chat and cross to Cardinal > Custom.
Step 3: In the Type acreage access the afterward blueprint (of sorts):
This aloof tells Excel, in accession to the colors, accomplish the numbers percentages with no decimals. If you appetite one decimal place, aloof add it to the number, e.g., 0.0%. Two decimals, accomplish it two, e.g., 0.00%. If you didn’t appetite percent, bead the % sign, e.g., 0.0 would construe to commodity like 4.7. You can additionally add things like bill symbols.
Here’s a screenshot of what your spreadsheet will attending like afterwards applying custom formatting to a Search Queries report:
One added affair I’ll say about formatting numbers with blush is you can use codicillary formatting to architecture absolute and abrogating numbers, but you shouldn’t. Codicillary formatting is ultra cool, and I’ll be accoutrement it in my abutting post. But it’s a processor hog.
So the litmus assay I chase — to accumulate my spreadsheets as ablaze and active as accessible — is if it’s a changeless number, I use cardinal formatting. However, if it’s formatting is codicillary on addition factor, I use codicillary formatting.
Okay, let’s try that afresh in apparent English …
Let’s say you run a rank address from your beloved tool, and you appetite the accepted rank to be red if the keyword has collapsed in rankings and blooming if it’s confused up.
Since the blush of the accepted rank is codicillary on the rank of the antecedent day, week, or ages (most importantly, a amount from addition column), you would charge to use codicillary formatting. In the case of the webmaster data, all of the ethics are static, so we were able to use custom cardinal formatting.
Let’s say you don’t appetite abrogating signs, parentheses, or colors. Instead, you appetite absolute numbers to adjoin “Profit” to a bill value, “Loss” to a abrogating bill value, and “Break Even” (with no number) if it’s 0.
Your blueprint would attending like this:
$0″ Profit”;$0″ Loss”;”Break Even”
Note: You accept to accommodate a amplitude central the quotes, or it’ll attending like $4583Loss. No cutting on the ball attic please.
If you attending at the blueprint bar, you can see Excel sees it as a cardinal value, not text. Addition clue that it’s a cardinal is it’s right-aligned. Argument is consistently left-aligned in Excel.
Square brackets aren’t aloof advantageous for formatting absolute and abrogating numbers; they can additionally be acclimated to architecture conditions. We’re additionally activity to use addition accessible activity Excel offers. You can use leaders, aloof like you can do in Microsoft Word, by ambience a appearance to repeat. It’s easier to see it in activity and afresh explain it.
So let’s say we appetite to address a blueprint that specifies that for numbers beneath than 1000, we appetite the chat “Low” to be left-aligned, with the cardinal right-aligned; for numbers greater than 2000, we appetite the chat “High” to be left-aligned, with the cardinal right-aligned; and numbers in amid to say “Medium” with the cardinal right-aligned.
Here’s what the blueprint would attending like:
The aftermost action basically says, “And for aggregate else, left-align the chat ‘Middle’, por favor.”
And here’s what it would attending like back you’re finished:
And how did we get those added spaces? Easy. Aloof bandy an asterisk into your formula; afresh whatever appearance you put afterwards it (in this case a space) will be again to ample up the cell. If we had put a aeon afterwards it, it would accept abounding the amplitude with periods.
Even admitting I’m not a big fan of collapsed data, there are absolutely a few things you can do to accord your abstracts a makeover and accomplish it actionable, alike aural the borders of a table. Accumulate in apperception (as you abstruse in the table formatting post) you can array and clarify by blush already you administer any affectionate of blush formatting to your data.
So if you capital to see all concern agreement that confused up in rankings in your GWT Search Queries address afore those that fell, you can array by putting the blooming numbers at the top, afresh the red, afresh the black.
To apprentice alike added avant-garde uses of custom cardinal formatting, assay out this custom cardinal formatting adviser on the Microsoft site.
Opinions bidding in this commodity are those of the bedfellow columnist and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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