Zebra lines, highlighting applied to alternative rows is a very good way to make tables readable & pretty.
But what if you want a little more?
What if you want to highlight, lets say 3 rows in one color and 3 in another and repeat this …
Of course, we can use conditional formatting and come-up with some clever mix of ROW & MOD. But why waste so much of creative sauce on something as trivial as zebra line? So here is a quick alternative.
Use Table styles and tell excel how you want to highlight the lines.
Steps to create custom zebra lines
- First convert your data to table, if you have not already done it.
- Now, go to Table Design ribbon and right click on the table style you want and choose duplicate
- Excel creates a duplicate table style and opens a box to edit it.
- Give it a friendly name like myTableStyle1 or zebra-v1
- Select “First Row Stripe” and set stripe size to 2 or 3 as you want.
- Repeat the step for “Second Row Stripe” as well.
- Click OK & save your style.
- And now, apply this style to your table by selecting it from Table styles gallery.
- Your custom zebra is ready to bray and jump around.
Bonus tip #1: You can have 2 different stripe sizes too
For example you can have 5 rows for first stripe and 2 for second stripe, thus highlighting weekends in a different color.
Bonus tip #2: You can apply the same to columns too
You can apply the same concept to column stripes (banded columns) and set their sizes using table styles.
Bonus tip #3: Turn on / off zebra lines with a click
If you ever feel tired looking at all the stripes, you can quickly turn them off /on from Design Ribbon > Banded Rows
Homework: Change color when value changes
When you have few values with some duplicates, it makes sense to apply a band color whenever there is a change in value. How to set up zebra lines then? See here for your homework.
[Related: Zebras & Checker boards using Excel]
Do you use custom table styles?
Custom table styles are an easy way to tell Excel how we want our data to look. I use them often when designing a report or spreadsheet model.
What about you? Do you use custom styles? Have you tried the stripe size feature? What is your experience like? Please share using comments.