Table styles provide a way a way to quickly format entire tables using a preset style definition.
They are dynamic, meaning as your data change the style is re-applied smartly, there is a lot of variety, the UI for applying table styles is very visual and easy, and they will be professionally designed, so that out-of-the box people will be able to create presentation-level quality.
Table styles are dynamic, not a one-time formatting operation, so the formatting associated with the style behaves intelligently through many table actions - addition or deletion of rows or columns, sort, filter, etc.
There will be a healthy variety available. Excel 12 will ship with 30-40 table styles out of the box, and users will be able to vary the colours used by the style, so users will have a couple hundred styles available with one or two clicks of the mouse. If none of the built-in styles tickle your fancy or suit your presentation, you will be able to create your own custom styles which are sharable with others.
The UI for applying styles - galleries in the ribbon - is a big step forward. This is a great example of the kinds of benefit the ribbon brings to Excel.
They are part of a broader set of work that includes cell styles, chart styles, PivotTable styles, and document themes. More on that in later posts, but the goal of all this work is to make it fast and easy to create professional-quality, consistent-looking documents.
Once a table style is applied, it will grow and shrink with the table as the table changes
Table styles have several different options that can be turned on and off, and all of them have similar intelligent behaviors.
For example, a table style might define that the first column should always appear a certain way.
If the "first column" option is enabled, then Excel will always make sure the first column is formatted appropriately no matter which column is in the first position.
You can see the other table style options in the screenshot below - header and total rows, first and last columns, and banding on either rows or columns.
You can toggle these on and off for each table style.
If a table style is applied, you are still free to format your table using either conditional or direct formatting.
Formatting that you directly apply to a table will always appear "above" formatting that is defined by a table style, and conditional formatting will always appear "above" direct, or user-applied formatting
When creating a table style, you can specify formatting for the following elements (all are optional, and there is an order of precedence, so, for example, header row formatting shows up "above" whole table formatting):
First row stripe
Second row stripe
First column stripe
Second column stripe
First header cell
First total cell
Last header cell
Last total cell
Modify Table Style dialog box
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