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

Changing Body Text to a Heading

When working on a document in Outline view, you may need to change regular body text to a heading in the outline. It's ...

Discover More

Automatically Copying Formatting

It's easy to automatically set the contents of one cell to be equal to another cell. But what if you want to copy the ...

Discover More

Resolving Revisions

You've reviewed the changes that were made to your workbook using the Highlight Changes tool. Now you need to remove the ...

Discover More

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!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Understanding Monospace Fonts

Information in a worksheet needs to be displayed using fonts. If you understand the two different types of fonts ...

Discover More

Decimal Tab Alignment

If you are familiar with decimal tabs in Word, you may wonder if you can set the same sort of alignment in Excel. The ...

Discover More

Coloring Cells with Formulas

Easily seeing where all the formulas are in your worksheet can be handy. Here are some ideas on different ways you can ...

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 two less than 5?

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.