Gridlines and Borders in Excel are Not the Same

They may look the same visually, but they do not act the same.

Gridlines are used to make cell boundaries visible. You can change their color under Office Button>Excel Options>Advanced. You can set them visible or hidden.


You can also set them to Print.


However – as soon as you change the color or border of a cell – or of any adjoining cell – the gridlines will be lost. So you may end up with a very uneven application of lines and colors within a worksheet.

Borders can have different colors, line types and widths. You can assign different borders to multiple cells in a worksheet. Borders will always print and will not disappear if you change the color of a cell. 



 To set borders for a single cell or a group of cells:

1. Select the cell or group of cells

2. Click on the Border Icon

This will display the borders dialog box (at left)

3. Select the type of border you want

4. Select the type and color of the line

5. As soon as you click outside the dialog box, the border selection will be applied.


NOTE: If you sort the data, border and background colors of cells WILL NOT transfer with the sorted data.

no-wordWORD inserts an enormous (literally pages and pages) number of unused and sometimes arcane HTML style codes “behind the scenes” into any document. When you do a simple COPY/PASTE from WORD to CommonSpot, all those tags get inserted onto the CommonSpot page. This makes your page 3 to 4 times larger than it needs to be (which will make loading take longer) and it may confuse CommonSpot and cause unexpected formatting and displays. If you then try to re-edit the content, it becomes hopelessly garbled between any relatively straight-forward content inserted by hand into the CommonSpot editor and the content pasted directly from WORD.

There are three ways to avoid this:

  • Upload the WORD file as an attachment
    If you just want folks to be able to read the content of the document, you can upload the file and link to it. Users can then open or download the document.
    This preserves all formatting including pictures.
  • Mail the document to yourself at gmail. (gmail email accounts are free.)
    Once you receive the email, click on the “View as HTML” link beside the attachment.
    Copy and Paste the displayed text into the CommonSpot Editor.
    This preserves about 80% of the formatting. Pictures will not be displayed.
  • Save your document as a TXT file and open it in Notepad or another plain text editor.
    Select all the content and paste it into the CommonSpot Editor.
    This preserves none of the formatting.

cautiongraypdftowordUse the free PDF-to-Word conversion technology found at PDFtoWORD to quickly and easily create editable DOC/RTF files. Then open them in Microsoft Word or Excel to edit them.

The application uses the full range of formatting tools such as paragraphs, columns, tables, and margins, rather than dropping all content into a mash of running text as some converters do. It also converts and positions pictures, photos, vector images, and Excel charts while maintaining editing capabilities.

The Process:



  1. Go to
  2. In  “Step 1”
    1. Browse to find the PDF file on your computer
  3. In “Step 2”
    1. Click on either .DOC or .RTF
      .DOC if you want to edit in WORD
      .RTF if you want to edit in another applications
  4. In “Step 3”
  5. Enter an email address to have the converted file mailed to
  6. Click “Convert”
cautiongray  This post is for informational purposes only. The technologies and services discussed are not officially endorsed or supported by the Colby College Information Technology Services department. Colby account holders should review the College’s Information and Data Security Policy and Best Practices guidelines, especially as they pertain to the handling of sensitive data.

1 Click on the “Review” tab on the Ribbon in Excel 2007
2 The “Changes” group is on the far right hand side of the Ribbon
3 Click on “Track Changes” and “Highlight Changes”
4 Check “Track changes while editing.  This also shares your workbook.”
5 Select what you want highlighted
6 Click OK

(source: The New PaperClip)

PowerPoint automatically compresses images when saving a presentation. This is generally “a good thing” in that it reduces the size of your file. However, if you are using high resolution photos, you may not want to lose that definition. You can prevent PowerPoint from compressing images in a presentation by following these steps:

  1. Select “Save as
    The “Save as” dialog box is displayed
  2. Click on “Tools” at the bottom left of the box
    Save options will be displayed
  3. Select the “Compress Pictures” option
  4. Click on the “Options” button
  5. Uncheck the “Automatucally perform basic compression on save

Click here to see a video clip of this operation.

 Let’s say you have a large workbook of names and addresses and you need to find only those folks listed with area codes of 207 and 613. You could sort the data by area code and copy and paste after each section – or you could use the FILTER function.

Here’s how:

ExtData-1 Select the entire range of data you want to filter for a specific value(s)
SortFilter Click the SORT&FILTER icon on the right side of the Ribbon
Filter Select “Filter
dropdown The selected range should now have drop-down arrows at the head of each column
SelectFilter Click the down-arrow on the column that you want to Filter on.Uncheck the “Select All” box.Check the values you want to filter for.Click OK
NumberFilters Note: If you click on “Number Filters“, a list of options will display. The default is “Equals“.If you wish to use another strategy, select it here.
Outcome The outcome of this action is shown to the left
Clear To clear the filter, click on the down-arrow again and select “Clear Filter…”The range will return to normal
text If you had chosen to sort the text column instead, you would have been presented with text options as shown to the left.

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