How to Alternate Row Colors in Excel (3 Easy Ways)

July 12, 2023 2.3K views

In Excel, highlighting alternate row colors improves data readability. While it is straightforward in small tables, it is more difficult in larger ones. So, how can you use Excel to automatically swap row colors while also efficiently highlighting every other row or column? In this post, we'll go through the fundamental strategies and steps for achieving alternate row colors and improving data display.

Method 1: Convert and Style a Table With Alternating Colors

If your data isn't already formatted as a table, you can transform it while also applying a style.


1. Head over to Microsoft Excel and open the Excel sheet with data

2. Select the range of cells to format as a table.

3. OAn the ribbon menu, go to the home tab and then select “Format as Table”

4. Select the style of format from the variety of styles available. Then, confirm the range of cells in the Format as Table dialog box.

5. Your data will be formatted as a table with an alternating row style

Method 2: Change an Existing Table Style

Changing an existing table style in Excel allows you to rapidly change the look and formatting of your data tables to improve visual appeal and presentation. If you have a table with a single style and you’re looking to format it with alternating colors, then you are at the right place.


1. Open the excel sheet with the table.

2. Click on any cell of the table.

3. Go to the ribbon menu, click on the Table Design tab and then banded rows if it is not already ticked off

4. Simply expand the table styles menu on the right, users can choose from a variety of color themes ranging from Dark, Medium or Light.

Method 3: Use Conditional Formatting to Color Every Other Row

In Excel, users can change the style of their data without formatting their data as a table using conditional formatting. It can be used to color every other row, resulting in a visually unique and organized view of your data.


1. Open the excel file with data.

2. Select the range of cells that need to be formatted with a different style

3. On the ribbon menu, go to the Home tab and select Conditional formatting

4. On the Conditional formatting drop menu, Select New Rule

5. In the “New Formatting Rule” dialog box, select “Use a formula to determine which cells to format”, then in the “Format Values Where This Formula is True” field enter the following formula:


6. After the entering formula, click on format.

7. In the Format Cells dialog box, users can select the color of the formatting, font style and size and then click on “OK”

8. Data will be displayed on your excel sheet with the desired formatting

Best Alternative - WPS Office

When it comes to Microsoft Excel alternatives, WPS Spreadsheet stands out as a robust and dependable option. WPS Spreadsheet provides a seamless experience for managing and formatting data thanks to its intuitive interface and comprehensive capabilities. To improve the visual appeal of their spreadsheets, users can easily alter styles and use conditional formatting. Furthermore, the compatibility of WPS Spreadsheet with Excel files allows effective collaboration and a smooth transition between the two platforms. Experience WPS Spreadsheet's ease and efficiency as the ideal solution for your data management needs.

Advantages of WPS Office

  • WPS Spreadsheet offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easy for users to navigate and work with their data.

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Algirdas Jasaitis

How to Apply Color to Alternate Rows in WPS Spreadsheet?

Users can improve the aesthetic appeal of their data in WPS Spreadsheet by applying color to alternate rows, enhancing readability, and emphasizing patterns by following this simple step by step method.


1. Open the data file using WPS Spreadsheet

2. Select the range of cells containing data that needs to be formatted

3. On the ribbon menu, go to Home tab and then select Conditional formatting

4. In the Conditional formatting drop-down menu, select New Rule.

5. In the "New Formatting Rule" dialogue box, select "Use a formula to determine which cells to format", then enter the following formula in the "Format Values Where This Formula is True" field:


6. Once the formula has been entered, users can simply click on Format.

7. In the “Format Cells” dialog box, go to Font tab and then select the style for your data

8. Once the formatting is finished, the data will be displayed according to the conditional formatting applied by the user


Users can use either of the following 2 formulas for unique formatting of their data:

  • =MOD(ROW(),2)=0: To start highlighting every alternate row starting from the second row.

  • =MOD(ROW(),2)=1: To start highlighting every alternate row starting from the first row.

Take A Closer Look at Excel Row Colors

1. Why alternate row colors?

When working with huge datasets, alternating row colors in Excel can improve readability and make it easier to differentiate between distinct rows. You may establish a distinct visual breakdown by applying different colors to every other row, making it easier to follow the data across the spreadsheet.

2. The importance of alternate to row colors in Excel

Adding a color to alternating rows or columns might help make your worksheet's data easier to scan.


Q1. Can I copy the alternate row colors to other worksheets or workbooks?

Certainly, the alternate row colors can be applied to other worksheets or workbooks by copying and pasting the prepared cells, preserving the conditional formatting rules. This ensures that the colors are consistent across multiple sheets or files.

Q2. Is it possible to customize the alternating row colors in Excel?

Yes, Excel has a variety of formatting options to create visually appealing and unique designs for your worksheets. You can experiment with different color schemes, gradients, and patterns to create a unique design.

Q3. What if I insert or delete rows in my Excel worksheet? Will the alternate row colors be adjusted automatically?

Yes, Excel is intelligent enough to dynamically update the alternate row colors as you insert or delete rows inside your defined range. The conditional formatting rules will adjust to the changes, ensuring that the rows' colors continue to alternate.

Enhance Data Readability with Alternating Row Colors in Excel

We looked at three simple ways to change row colors in Excel and improve data visualization. You now have the skills to make your data stand out, whether you're converting and decorating a table, modifying an existing table style, or using conditional formatting.

Don't forget to look into WPS Office as a dependable choice and take advantage of its features. You may make visually appealing Excel worksheets if you understand how to add color to alternating rows.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.