How to Emphasize Cells by Increasing Size in Excel

Emphasizing certain cells in an Excel spreadsheet can help draw attention to key data points and improve readability. There are several methods for increasing cell size to highlight important information:

Adjust Column Width and Row Height

  • To change column width, select the column(s) and go to Home > Cells > Format > Column Width. Enter the desired width in inches, centimeters or points
  • To adjust row height, select the row(s) and go to Home > Cells > Format > Row Height. Enter the desired height
  • You can also manually drag the boundaries of column headers or row numbers to resize


  • Double click the boundary to automatically fit the column or row to the size of its contents
  • Select multiple columns/rows at once to resize them all simultaneously

Merge Cells

  • Select the cells you want to merge and go to Home > Alignment > Merge & Center
  • The cell contents will be centered across the merged cells
  • Merging cells creates more spacious cells to emphasize data

Tip: Use merged cells sparingly as it can affect formatting of surrounding cells

Increase Font Size

  • Select the cell(s) and use the font size options on the Home tab to increase text size
  • Alternatively, go to Home > Cells > Format > Format Cells > Font tab to choose custom font sizes
  • Making text larger draws more attention to key data points


  • Increase font size gradually to find the optimal size
  • Be consistent with font sizes for similar data types

Add Cell Borders

  • Select the cell(s) and use the border options on the Home tab to add various types of borders
  • Borders help distinguish key cells from other data
  • Thicker borders around cells can further emphasize important values


  • Avoid overusing borders as it can reduce readability
  • Use sparingly and consistently for maximum impact

Change Font Color

  • Select the cell(s) and use the font color picker on the Home tab to choose a color
  • Colored text contrasts with other data and draws the eye
  • Avoid colors that strain readability


  • Blue and dark colors work well for emphasis
  • Use colors consistently across similar data types

Apply Cell Fills

  • Select the cell(s) and use the fill color options on the Home tab to choose a background color
  • Colored cell backgrounds make values stand out
  • Avoid fills that reduce readability of cell contents


  • Softer fills like light blue work well
  • Make sure there is sufficient contrast between fill and text colors

Use Conditional Formatting

  • Select the cell(s) and create a conditional formatting rule based on cell value, formulas or other parameters
  • This automatically emphasizes cells that meet the defined criteria
  • Useful for highlighting values above or below thresholds


  • Multiple rules can be defined to emphasize different value ranges
  • Avoid overusing as it can reduce readability

Insert Sparklines

  • Select the cell(s) where you want sparklines displayed and go to Insert > Sparklines to create mini in-cell charts
  • Different sparkline types like column, line or win/loss can be inserted
  • Sparklines call attention to trends and outliers

Tip: Ensure sufficient cell size for sparkline legibility

Use Data Visualizations

  • Charts, gauges and other data visualizations can be inserted to emphasize key values
  • For example, a large gauge could highlight a key metric
  • Visuals draw attention more than plain numbers


  • Make sure visualizations are appropriately sized
  • Avoid cluttering spreadsheet with too many visuals

Apply Cell Styles

  • Use the style gallery on the Home tab to select pre-made styles
  • Styles allow applying multiple formats in one step
  • Styles like “Good”, “Bad” and “Neutral” can denote cell status


  • The “Title” style works well for main headings
  • Custom styles can also be defined

By using one or more of these methods, you can effectively emphasize key data points in an Excel spreadsheet. Just remember to use them sparingly and consistently. Appropriate use of emphasis guides users to important information and improves overall spreadsheet readability.