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Feel Free to Change Things

For the longest time, I was hesitant to change the default setup of my Excel workbook. And by default setup, here’s what I mean?

The Excel Workbook Default Setup

When you open a brand new Excel workbook, there are a few things that always start out the same.

  • The font size is 11
  • The column width is 8.43
  • The row height is 15
  • The vertical alignment is set to “bottom”

These settings are not inherently bad. You can build plenty of effective Excel spreadsheets by keeping these just as they are.

However, you should also feel free to change them to a setup that better fits you!

Changing the Excel Setup

Once I realized that it was OK to change these things, I never looked back.

Now each time I open a brand new Excel workbook, I perform all the following actions.

Re-size the Rows and Columns

The first thing I do when I open a new Excel workbook is re-size the rows and columns.

I start by clicking on the small triangle icon in the top-left corner of the spreadsheet grid to select all of the cells.

I then right-click on any of the row headings and change the height to 20.

With all the cells still selected, I right-click on any of the column headings and change the width to 12.

Now the cells are a little larger and easier to see.

Change the Font Size

The next thing I do is change the font size from 11 to 12.

I select all the cells again, and then I use the Excel Ribbon to adjust the font size from 11 to 12.

It may not seem like it would make that much of a difference, but this small adjustment seems to really make the text a lot easier to read.

Change the Vertical Alignment

The last thing I do is change the vertical alignment from bottom to middle.

Since I made the cells a little larger, I don’t want the text in those cells sitting at the bottom. In my opinion, it looks much better to have it in the middle.

Why It’s Ok to Change Things

The point of this article is not to convince you to change things exactly the way I do. The point is that it’s ok to adjust things to fit your personal preferences.

If you think something would look better if you changed it, give it a try and make the change. You can always hit the undo button if you don’t like it.

Before you know it, you might just discover that a few changes go a long way to making your spreadsheet better, more effective, and more beautiful overall.

Don’t be afraid to drift away from the defaults. Feel free to change things, and you just may find that you are thankful that you did!

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