Chromebook: How to Format Data in Sheets

By Mark LaFay

Google Sheets on your Chromebook gives you great control over the appearance of the content in your spreadsheet. You can change the formatting of a complete spreadsheet, rows, columns, or single cells. You cannot, however, apply multiple style changes to the contents within a cell. Any formatting tweaks you make in a cell get applied to the entire contents of the cell.

Google Sheets allows you to style your sheet in many different ways, including the following:

  • Font formatting: Font is another way to say style of typeface. With Sheets, you can change fonts, change the size or color of a font, or apply to a font new styles like bold, italics, underline, or strikethrough.

  • Cell formatting: You can put borders around a cell or group of cells, or apply a background color. You can also auto-format numbers in a cell so that they take on a particular format like currencies, percentages, dates, and times, to name a few.

  • Alignment: You can change the horizontal alignment of the text within a cell to be left-, center- or right-aligned, or change the vertical alignment so that your text appears at the top, middle, or bottom of the cell. You can even style text so that it wraps to another line in your cell.

Change alignment

Google Sheets gives you several options for changing the horizontal and vertical alignment of your data. Horizontal alignment options include

  • Left

  • Right

  • Center

Vertical alignment options include

  • Top

  • Middle

  • Bottom

To adjust the alignment of your data, follow these steps:

  1. Using your touchpad, select the cells you wish to realign by clicking and dragging your cursor.

    The selected cells are highlighted.

  2. In the Edit toolbar, find and click the appropriate Alignment button.

    The Vertical Alignment button is located seven buttons from the end of the right side. The Horizontal Alignment button is next to it, eight buttons from the end of the right side.

    A menu with the alignment options appears.

  3. Click the desired alignment.

    The selected cells of data will be realigned accordingly.

Wrap text in a cell

By default, when you enter text into a cell, the text appears on a single line. That means that in order to show all of the entered text, the width of your cell may have to be adjusted.

However, Sheets has a feature that causes text to go to the next line once it hits the maximum width of your cell — wrap text. With this feature, you can set text to wrap in one cell or in every cell in a sheet. To activate text wrapping, follow these steps:

  1. Using your touchpad, select the desired cells by clicking and dragging your cursor.

    The selected cells are highlighted.

  2. Open the Format menu.

  3. Choose Wrap Text.

    Text that extends beyond the boundaries of your cell walls will be wrapped to another line, as shown in the figure.

    image0.jpg

Clear formatting

Sometimes you just need to start over. The good news is that Sheets makes it incredibly easy to wipe out all formatting in a section of cells or your complete spreadsheet. To clear your formatting, follow these steps:

  1. Select the formatted cells you want to clear.

    The selected cells are highlighted.

    To clear the formatting of an entire document, press Ctrl+A instead of selecting cells. Pressing Ctrl+A selects the entire document.

  2. Open the Format menu in the Applications menu.

  3. Select Clear Formatting.

    The selected data is reset to defaults: left-aligned, with all style elements — including color, underline, strikethrough, italics, bold, and so on — removed.