Here is how you can use custom formatting in Excel to fill the balance of your cell with a character:
You can download the file here and follow along. If you get a preview, look for the download arrow in the upper right hand corner.
There are times that you might create a list, make a schedule or maybe even have a table of contents and you want to fill the balance of the cell with a character, such as a period or asterisk, and you don’t want to have to manually enter them.
Use can use custom formatting and @* plus your character to achieve this.
For example, let’s say you are setting up your running schedule for the week. You list the days of the week in one column and your mileage or training plan in a separate one. You then want to use periods to make it easy for your eyes to follow across the page from the day to the event, like this:
To manually insert the periods, or any other character, would be a pain. However, using custom formatting makes it very easy. As you can see by the image above, all that’s entered into the cell is “Monday”. The custom formatting does the rest.
To format the cell for this, follow these steps:
1) click on the cell or cells you want to format
2) either right-click on the those cells, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 1 to bring up the Format Cells dialog box
3) On the “Numnbers” tab, click on “Custom”
4) In the area below “Type:”, enter @* and whatever character you want to fill the rest of the cell with. In this case I used a period:
And that’s all there is to it! There are a multitude of special custom formatting rules and options you can use. One simple reference is a post by Mynda Tracy from MyOnlineTrainingHub.com located here that also includes this tip and various others.
I will provide various other custom formatting options in future posts.