When working with tables in a spreadsheet, we often want them to be easy to read and understand. To help us Sheets now has a quick little tool, which allows us to add alternating colours to the rows of our data, making them not just prettier but much easier to read, whilst being really quick to create.

Here we have a plain table of data.


First, highlight the area you want to format (usually the whole table).


Go to the Format menu, then click “Alternating colours”.


This will open the sidebar. Here from top to bottom you have:

The range the formatting will apply to.

Whether you want a different colour for the header of the data or the footer.

A set of default colours to choose from.

The option to create your own default colour combination, which is then saved for future use.

At the bottom, you have the option to remove the formatting.


When you first open the sidebar, by default it adds a grey and white format to your data.


To change this, just select one of the default options.


Here I’ve selected a purple combination. As you can see, it’s easier to read and looks better too.


If you want to choose, your own colours, either select a default one and edit it, or click the plus button to add a new one. Then click on the fill symbols to the right, to change the colours.


By default, this adds a darker header row at the top. You can choose whether you want to have this and also whether you want the last row, the footer, to be a different colour, for example, usual for totals. Just tick the ones you want.


Here I’ve added both a header and a footer.


Once you’ve selected the options, click Done to confirm the changes.


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Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)