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Home Tab

(Click the ribbon to navigate)

The Home tab is the main ribbon page that you'll have open most of the time while working within Excel. This tab houses the most commonly used formatting and sorting options, allowing you to move and edit the appearance of your data, format, and perform basic sort and filter functions. Getting to know this tab is crucial to working efficiently with spreadsheets and data. 

(Click anywhere in the tab to jump to that section)

First half of the Home ribbon tab
second half of the home ribbon tab in excel
clipboard section of the excel home ribbon  tab


Copy and paste options

excel paste icon


This is the default option. Using paste will bring over everything from copied cells including their content, formatting (conditional, borders, fill, text options), comments, and data validation. 

example of copy and paste in excel
copy and paste selection in excel
completed copy and paste

Here you can see that formulas (=2+2 in cell B2), numbers, text formatting, conditional formatting, and cell borders all get copied over when the paste function is used.

excel cut icon


Cut is essentially paste and delete combined into one. Cut will take simulteniously copy cells paste it to a new location, while deleting the original copied cells' content. This will remove whatever is in your selection and move it to a new location. Cut preserves any formulaic references to the cut cells.

excel copy icon


The copy option will copy the contents, formulas, and formatting of any selected cell or range of cells. The copied data is then usually pasted or cut to somewhere else in the workbook.

excel format painter icon

Format Painter

Format painter will allow you to copy the format from one cell or object and paste it to another location. Full tutorial available here.



Text and cell formatting options

excel font section of the home ribbon tab
excel font selection

Choose Font

This option allows you to look through all available fonts available by default, and pick the one you want to apply to any selected range of cells.

excel font size selection

Font Size

Change font and text size. Increasing this number will make text larger, while decreasing this number will make text smaller. The number can be manually typed in or selected using the mouse. The default value is 11, but can be changed within the settings.

excel increase/decrease text size icon
Increase / Decrease Text Size

The button the the left with the up arrow will incrementally increase the text size, and the button with the down arrow will incrementally decrease the text size.

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Bold / Italicize / Underline 

The bold "B" will toggle bolding on the selected text, the italic "I" will italicize any text, and lastly the underlined "U" will underline any text. Clicking the down arrow next to the U will open up another option for underlining, the double underline. 

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Apply Border

By default, clicking this button will apply a bottom border to any selected cells. Clicking the down arrow on the right will open more border options. For example, apply left/right/top/bottom borders, change border style and color, and more.  

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Change Cell Background or Fill Color

This button will apply a selected color to the background of any selected cells. The fill color (or background color) can be adjusted and will show up behind any cell contents like text or numbers.

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Change Font Color

This button will apply the selected color (red is default) to any selected cells. The color can be adjusted and will be applied to any text or numbers contained in the cells. Multiple parts of a text string in a single cell can be different colors.


Change text alignment within cells

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Top, Middle, and Bottom Align

These options will change how text is vertically aligned within a cell. The top align option will align text to the very top border of a cell, the middle will align the text in the middle of the top and bottom borders, and the bottom align will align text to the bottom of the border.

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Left, Center, and Right Align

These options are similar to the ones above, but instead change how text is horizontally aligned within a cell. The left align option will align text all the way to the left of a cell, middle will center the text, and right align will align text to the right of a cell.

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Change Text Orientation

This button will bring up options to rotate text within a cell. Rotate the text clockwise, counterclockwise, or set the text to be vertically orientated straight up or down.

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Increase or Decrease Text Indentation

Using these two buttons will increase or decrease the text indentation and move text away from the left/right aligned border.

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Wrap Text Within a Cell

When a cell contains text that is longer than the cell width, the default behavior is for the text to spill out across cells or, if there are cells values directly to the right, are cut off. Wrapping text will instead increase the cell height, and wrap text downward. This is much like how when you're typing in Word, a long sentence or word gets pushed to the next line rather than pushed off the page.

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Merge and Center Cells

The merge and center cells option will take any selected cells and merge them into one combined cell while also centering any text. This can be useful to create header columns, but may also cause some difficulty in navigating the workbook. For this reason it is recommended to center across selected cells versus merging.



Change the display format of numbers

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Change Number Formatting

This drop down lists the most common number formatting options: General, number, currency, accounting, short/long date, time, percentage, fraction, scientific, and text, can all be selected from this menu.

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Preset, Standard Formatting Options

These are the most common number formatting options. The left one will format numbers as your local currency with the currency sign and two decimal points. The middle, percentage sign, will convert any number to a percentage. The right symbol will format any number with commas, two decimal points, and align right.

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Increase and Decrease Displayed Decimal Places

These two options will either increase, or decrease the amount of displayed decimal points.



Change and set rules for visual styles

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Set Up or Edit Conditional Formatting Rules

This button will bring up all of the standard conditional formatting rules and allow you to create your own. Conditional formatting allows you to easily spot trends and patterns in your data using colors, data bars, and icons to visually highlight key information.

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Change Cell Style

This option (sometimes expanded to show a few default styles) will allow you to pick from a few different default formatting styles. These premade options will allow you to easily create appealing formatting that makes your workbook easier to understand. 

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(Sample of the default cell styles)

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Create Table Or Change Table Style

This option can both create a table from a selected range of cells, or if a table has already been created, can change the visual format of the table from a large selection of premade table styles. Custom table styles can also be created and used across your workbooks.



Add, remove, and format cells

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Insert Cells

Add new cells, rows, and columns to your workbook. Clicking the icon will insert cells/rows/columns based on the selected range, and clicking on the down arrow will let you specifically pick what action you want to take. To add multiple new rows or columns, select multiple rows and columns before using this option.

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Delete Cells

Add new cells, rows, and columns to your workbook. Clicking the icon will insert cells/rows/columns based on the selected range, and clicking on the down arrow will let you specifically pick what action you want to take. To add multiple new rows or columns, select multiple rows and columns before using this option.

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Format, Organize, and Protect Workbook

Houses options to change row and column height/width, hide and unhide sections of your workbook, rename/move/color sheets, and protect sheets and cells from editing.



Workbook shortcuts and filtering

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AutoSum Cells

By default, this option will sum up any numbers in cells directly above the selected cell, or directly to the left of the selected cell. The arrow option will allow you to change the AutoSum to an average, count, min/max, etc.

Screenshot 2022-10-10 154718.png

Filling in Excel will take a value, formula, or pattern, and copy that in a specific direction (up, down, left, and right). The fill can act as a copy and paste but can also continue on a series of cells like counting up from 1, or auto fill dates from a starting date.

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Clear Contents

Clear holds options to erase parts of selected cells. Clear can delete all cell contents or just the cell formatting, comments, or hyperlinks.

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Sort and Filter

Houses options to change row and column height/width, hide and unhide sections of your workbook, rename/move/color sheets, and protect sheets and cells from editing.

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Find and Select

Houses options to find or select specific text from your workbook. Gives you options to search within formulas, notes, values, conditional formatting, and data validation. Also gives the ability to select specific options and open the selection pane.



Built-in data analysis feature

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Analyze Data

Use artificial intelligence to pull insights out of your data. This feature will look for patterns in your data and create personalized suggestions for charts and commonly asked questions. Gives you the ability to ask Excel "What day had the highest sales numbers" and receive custom PivotTables and Charts.

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