Let’s take a look. Sometimes you need to apply formatting to only a few characters or words. It doesn’t work to select a cell and apply the formatting, because that will affect all of the content in the cell. There are two ways to apply this kind of formatting. The first way is to select a cell and apply formatting in the formula bar. Start by selecting the text you want to format and select the format you like. This works fine, but the formula bar won’t show any formatting, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the cell itself which will display all formatting changes. When formatting just part of a cell, you can change the font, color, and size of text. You can also apply bold, italic, and underline styles. The other way to apply formatting to individual characters is to double-click the cell, or press F2 to enable edit mode. In edit mode you can select text, apply formatting, and see the result, all in one place. After you select the text in a cell, Excel will faintly display a small menu of formatting options. To access this menu, just hover over it with your mouse.  Be careful when you apply formatting to a cell that you’ve made character-level changes to; it can be tricky to keep these local changes intact. Excel does a pretty good job protecting local formatting in cells, but it can be lost easily when you apply certain formatting. For example, if you apply a color to a cell, it will override any local color changes you’ve made. In a similar way, applying a font to a cell that already has more than one font applied will remove all local font changes and reset the cell to the new font.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.