How to Use Excel's AutoFormat Feature

Improve readability and save time with built-in table formats

What to Know

  • Add AutoFormat to Quick Access toolbar: Select Quick Access Toolbar > More Commands > Choose commands from > All Commands.
  • Scroll through the list and select AutoFormat > Add > OK. To apply an AutoFormat style to a table, highlight the data.
  • Next, select AutoFormat from the Quick Access Toolbar, choose a style, and click OK. Select an AutoFormat style's options to modify it.

This article explains how to use Excel's AutoFormat option to create a professional, clean worksheet while improving your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet's readability and saving time. Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010, as well as Excel for Microsoft 365.

Add AutoFormat to the Quick Access Toolbar

To use AutoFormat, add the AutoFormat icon to the Quick Access Toolbar so it can be accessed when you need it. After you add AutoFormat, it remains on the Quick Access Toolbar.

There are 17 AutoFormat styles available in Excel. These styles affect number formatting, borders, fonts, patterns and background colors, alignment, and column and row size.

  1. Select the Quick Access Toolbar drop-down arrow.

    The quick-access toolbar dropdown menu
  2. Choose More Commands to open the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar dialog box.

    The Customize the Quick Access Toolbar dialog box
  3. Select the Choose commands from the drop-down arrow.

    The Choose commands from dropdown
  4. Choose All Commands to display all the commands available in Excel.

    Screenshot of All Commands in the Choose commands from dropdown
  5. Scroll through the alphabetical list and choose AutoFormat.

    AutoFormat selected in the Choose commands from dropdown
  6. Select Add.

    AutoFormat added to the Quick Access Toolbar
  7. Select OK to add the AutoFormat icon to the Quick Access Toolbar.

Apply an AutoFormat Style

To quickly apply an AutoFormat style to a table:

  1. Highlight the data in the worksheet that you want to format.

    Highlighting a table to format in Excel
  2. Go to the Quick Access Toolbar and select AutoFormat.

  3. In the AutoFormat dialog box, choose a style.

    Selecting an AutoFormat style
  4. Select OK to close the dialog box.

  5. The new style is applied to the table.

    An AutoFormat applied to a selected table.
  6. To apply a different style, select any cell in the table and choose AutoFormat.

Modify an AutoFormat Style Before Applying It

If you don't like any of the available styles, modify a style before you apply it to a worksheet.

  1. In the AutoFormat dialog box, select Options.

    AutoFormat formatting options
  2. In the Formats to apply section, clear the check boxes for the formats you don't want to use in the table.

    Adjusting AutoFormat formatting options
  3. The examples in the dialog box update to reflect the changes.

  4. Select OK to apply the modified style.

Modify an AutoFormat Style After Applying It

After you apply a style to a table, modify the table style with the formatting options found on the Home tab of the ribbon. Then, save the modified AutoFormat style as a custom style that can be used with other tables and worksheets.

To create custom AutoFormat styles for tables:

  1. Select any cell in the table.

  2. Go to the Home tab, select Format as Table, then choose New Table Style.

    Selecting a new table style in Excel
  3. In the New Table Style dialog box, choose a table element and select Format to apply the font, border, or fill formatting you like. Do this for each table element you want to change.

    Formatting table style elements in Excel
  4. Select the Set as default table style for this document check box if you want to automatically use this style when formatting tables, then select OK to save the AutoFormat style.

  5. To use the custom style, highlight a table, go to Home, select Format as Table, and choose the custom style.

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