Today’s Excel tip is very simple, but it can save a lot of time when formatting a spreadsheet.  Most people that I’ve shown this to are just as surprised as I was when someone first showed me.  Putting a bottom border on a row of cells can be a good choice for column headings on a spreadsheet.  But for totals or subtotals, many people don’t like the continuous line that it creates; they would prefer a separate underline in each column. A common solution is to have very narrow empty columns between the columns of data.  But that is tedious to set up and interferes with using the ctrl+arrow  or End+arrow keyboard shortcuts.  You could format the text in the headings to be underlined, but then the line will only be as wide as the text or numbers in the cell.  Or will it?  If you first format cells with either the comma format or the accounting format and then format the text as underlined, the underline will extend almost the entire width of the column. (If you underline first, it won’t work.) In Excel this is called Accounting Underline.  And for totals, select your cell(s) and click the down arrow next to the underline button on the ribbon, You’ll find a choice there for double underline.


This is an update of a post from December 2010.