Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Formatting a PivotTable.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 31, 2020)
You know that you can format cells in your worksheets by using the different tools on the Formatting toolbar, or by using the Cell option from the Format menu. Excel also allows you to format PivotTables using these same techniques. You should know, however, that the best way to format PivotTables is to use the AutoFormat feature. This is because whenever you manipulate the table or refresh the data, any explicit formatting you might have applied (using the Cell option from the Format menu) is eliminated by Excel. This limitation does not apply when you use the built-in AutoFormats.
To use the AutoFormat feature, select a cell in the PivotTable, and then choose AutoFormat from the Format menu. Excel displays the AutoFormat dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The AutoFormat dialog box.
Scroll through the available formats, and click the one you want to use. When you click the OK button, the desired format is applied to the PivotTable.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2482) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Formatting a PivotTable.
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Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.