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Changing the Look of Excel

With Excel 2013, what you see isn’t necessarily what you have to live with. This tip describes several ways to change the look of Excel. Some changes affect only the appearance. Other options allow you to hide various parts of Excel to make more room for displaying your data — or maybe because you prefer a less-cluttered look.

Cosmetic changes

When the preview version of Microsoft Office 2013 became available, there was a minor uproar about its appearance. Compared to previous versions, the applications looked “flat” and many complained about the overall white color.

When the final version was released, Microsoft added two alternative Office themes: light gray and dark gray. To switch to a different theme, choose File➜Options to display the Excel Options dialog box. Click the General tab and use the Office Theme drop-down list. The theme choice affects the appearance of the title bar, row and column borders, task panes, the taskbar, and a few other items. The theme you choose applies to all other Office 2013 applications.