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: Creating 3-D Formatting for a Cell.

Creating 3-D Formatting for a Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 3, 2018)

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 Patterns tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Patterns 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 (3061) 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: 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

Special Characters in Fields

If you try to add a quote mark or a backslash as part of a field parameter or switch, you may be surprised at what you ...

Discover More

Adding Diagonal Borders

Want to add a border diagonally, through the middle of a table cell? It's easy if you follow the formatting steps ...

Discover More

Setting the AutoRecover Directory

Excel, by default, periodically writes information to AutoRecover files that can help protect your data in case Excel is ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Understanding Cell Indenting

Formatting a cell could, if you desire, also include the indentation of information within the cell. This tip examines ...

Discover More

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

When your macro checks the formatting used for a cell, it needs to be careful that the type of formatting being checked ...

Discover More

Accurate Font Sizes

Need to use some bizarre font size in your worksheet? Not a problem, provided it is a full or half point size.

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 2 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

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.

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.