How to Highlight Cells in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

As a marketer, I can't stress enough how important it is to know your way around Microsoft Excel. From analyzing data to creating charts, it's a powerful tool that can help you make sense of your marketing efforts. One of the most useful features of Excel is the ability to highlight cells. In this article, I'll show you how to highlight cells in Excel, step-by-step.

Step 1: Select the Cells You Want to Highlight

The first step is to select the cells you want to highlight. You can do this by clicking and dragging your mouse over the cells you want to highlight. Alternatively, you can click on the first cell you want to highlight, hold down the Shift key, and click on the last cell you want to highlight to select all the cells in between.

Step 2: Choose a Highlighting Option

After selecting your cells, choose a highlighting option that suits your needs. You can highlight cells by changing the color of the background, the font color, or even using a pattern. To do this, go to the "Home" tab and click on the "Fill Color" button. It has an icon resembling a paint bucket with a color on it.

When you click on the "Fill Color" button, a dropdown menu will appear with several predetermined highlighting options. Pick one that you like. To choose a custom color, click on "More Colors" at the bottom of the dropdown menu.

Another option to highlight cells is to use the "Font Color" button, found right next to the "Fill Color" button. It has an icon resembling a letter "A" with an underline. Click on it and choose your preferred font color. To highlight a cell's border, go to the "Home" tab and click on the "Border" button. It has an icon resembling a square with lines.

Step 3: Apply the Highlighting to Your Selected Cells

Now that you have selected your highlighting option, it's time to apply it to your selected cells. To do this, simply click on the highlighting option from the "Fill Color" or "Font Color" dropdown menu. If you want to fill a cell with a pattern, click on the "Fill Effects" option at the bottom of the "Fill Color" dropdown menu.

When you're done, click on "OK," and your selected cells will be highlighted with your chosen format.

Bonus Tips

Here are some bonus tips on how to make the most out of highlighting cells:

  • To highlight an entire row or column, click on the row or column header to select it. Then, apply the highlight as preferred.
  • You can remove highlighting by selecting the cells and clicking on the "No Fill" option on the "Fill Color" dropdown menu.
  • Use highlighting to create a legend for your data. For example, if you have data on product sales, you could highlight each product's total sales in a separate color to make it easier to see which products performed the best.


Highlighting cells is a simple yet powerful feature in Excel. By being able to draw attention to specific data points, you can quickly and easily make sense of your data and communicate it to others. I hope this article has been helpful in showing you how to highlight cells in Excel.

Remember to experiment and have fun with highlighting options as appropriate in your needs. Happy highlighting!

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