To make your Google Sheets spreadsheet easier to read, you can use alternate shading on rows or columns. We’m going through it!
Add alternate colors to rows
You can apply an alternate color scheme to rows in your Google Sheets spreadsheet directly using the “Alternating Colors”; formatting feature.
To do so, open your Google Sheets spreadsheet and select your data. You can either do this manually or select a cell in your data set and then press Ctrl + A to select data automatically.
Once your data is selected, click Format> Alternate Colors.
This will apply a basic alternate color scheme to each row of your data set and open the “Alternating Colors” panel on the right so you can make further changes.
You can also select one of several preset themes, with different alternate colors listed under the “Default Format” section.
Alternatively, you can create your own custom style by clicking on one of the options in the “Custom Styles” section and choosing a new color. You must repeat this for each color specified.
For example, if you change the “Main Color”, it will also change the color scheme used in the title bar.
If you want to remove the alternating color scheme from your rows completely, click “Remove alternating colors” at the bottom of the panel.
Add alternate colors to columns
The “alternating colors” function switches colors for rows, but does not do the same for columns. To use alternate colors on columns, you must use conditional formatting instead.
RELATED: How to select a line in Google Sheets with conditional formatting
To do so, select your data set in your Google Sheets spreadsheet. You can do this manually or by selecting a cell and then pressing Ctrl + A to select data.
With your data selected, click Format> Conditional Formatting in the menu bar.
This opens the “Conditional Format Rules” panel on the right. Click “Custom Formula Is” in the “Format Rules” drop-down menu.
Enter the following formula in the box below:
Then select the colors, fonts, and formatting formats you want to use in the “Formatting Style” box.
Click “Done” to add the rule.
This will use the formatting options you have selected for each column with an even number (column B meaning column 2, column D meaning column 4 and so on).
To add a new formatting rule for odd-numbered columns (column A meaning column 1, column C meaning column 3, and so on) click “Add another rule.”
As before, select “Custom Formula is” from the “Format Rules” drop-down menu. In the box, type the following:
Then select the desired formatting in the “Formatting style” option box and then click “Done”.
After saving, your data set should be displayed in a different format for each alternate column.
If you want to apply custom formatting to the header row, you can create a rule to apply formatting to a column row (row 1) first and then repeat the steps we described above for the rest of your data.
This allows you to adjust the formatting of your headline so that it stands out. You can also edit the formatting directly, but conditional formatting rules override everything you use.
To edit a conditional formatting rule that you have applied, click it in the “Conditional Formatting Rules” panel. You can then delete it completely by clicking the Delete button that appears when you hold the mouse pointer over the rule.
This immediately removes the conditional formatting rule from your selected data and allows you to use a new one afterwards.
RELATED: Google Sheets Beginner’s Guide