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: Changing Cell Patterns.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 14, 2017)
Excel allows you to easily change the background pattern used in the cell. In the early days of spreadsheets, patterns were the only way you had to differentiate one cell from another. To change cell patterns, follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Patterns tab of the Format Cells dialog box.
You should note that any pattern you select appears in the background of the cell, meaning that it appears behind any information contained within the cell. Thus, by creatively combining patterns, pattern colors, and other formatting options, you can create many, many different special effects.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2763) 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: Changing Cell Patterns.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
Want a quick way to add some underlines to your cell values? It's easy using the shortcuts provided in this tip.Discover More
Want a quick and easy way to hid the information in a cell? You can do it with a simple three-character custom format.Discover More
Straining your eyes to see the comments in a document? You can modify the size of the default font used for the comments, ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.