Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Creating 3-D Formatting for a Cell.

Creating 3-D Formatting for a Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 4, 2017)

5

Do you want the formatting of a cell to "stand out" from the surrounding cells? It's rather easy to do, once you understand how to create the illusion of three dimensions. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell that you want to format.
  2. Right-click on the selected cell and choose Format Cells. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Fill tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Fill tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  5. From the colors available, pick the lightest gray color you can see. This forms the background for the cell.
  6. Display the Border tab. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Border tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  8. In the Style list of the Line area, click on the second-widest solid line.
  9. Make sure the Color drop-down is set to either Automatic or Black. (In most cases, these two settings result in a black color, which is what you want.)
  10. In the Border area, click the buttons for both the right border and the bottom border. (You could also click on the actual border locations in the preview area, if desired.)
  11. Using the Color drop-down, choose White. It will look like all the line styles disappeared, but don't worry—they are still there, and the second-thickest line style should still be selected.
  12. Click the buttons for both the left border and the top border. (Again, you could also click on the border locations in the preview area.) You shouldn't see anything in the preview area, since white-on-white doesn't show up well. However, the buttons for the left and top borders should show as selected.
  13. Click OK.

The cell you selected in step 1 should now look as if it is "raised" off the worksheet around it. You can accentuate the effect even more if you apply a background color to the cells that surround the one that you want to look raised.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12143) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating 3-D Formatting for a Cell.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Copying Headers and Footers

Need to copy headers and footers from one worksheet to another? How about from one workbook to another? Here are some ...

Discover More

Adding Smart Quotes through Macro Text

When text is added to your document by a macro, and that text includes quotes or apostrophes, Word won't change the ...

Discover More

Determining Combinations to Make a Total

If you have a range of cells that contain values, you may wonder which combinations of those cells should be used to meet ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Adjusting Cell Margins for More White Space

Is the information in your cells too jammed up? Here are some ways you can add some white space around that information ...

Discover More

Adjusting Center Across Selection with a Cell Value

One of the most common cell alignment settings I use is the one to center across a selection. If you want to vary how ...

Discover More

Removing All Formatting

Getting rid of formatting from a cell or group of cells can be done using several different techniques. This tip ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 0?

2017-02-06 13:28:51

Brian

The tip works nicely. Spend a coupla minutes and make a little table using the tip. As a variation of this tip, rather than use white and black for the edges, use lighter and darker shades of the cell fill color to get the raised effect. You can reverse the colors to get a sunken effect.


2017-02-06 08:30:57

Russell

Not what I expected based on the Excel Tips Newsletter description, but does result in a nice 3D button effect.


2017-02-06 08:07:22

Bill Korebein

Not a useful tip without a picture of the result


2017-02-06 05:33:13

Ken Varley

Disappointed with this tip.

You showed a picture of raised triangles in your letter, not a button


2017-02-04 13:25:53

Carlos

not very clear - need picture of the result


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.