12 Default Microsoft Excel Settings You Should Change

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Microsoft Excel, like any other application, comes with some default options that will not work for everyone. You may possibly save time and energy by altering what happens when you open and work in Excel.
While there are many more options in Microsoft Excel than we will cover here, these are some of the most popular ones you should consider adjusting.

Where to Access the Default Settings

To alter any of the settings listed below, go to the Excel Options menu and choose the appropriate option.
Select the File tab in Excel. Select “Options” from the menu on the bottom left.

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This opens the Excel Options window, which contains all of the settings. Then, as shown below, pick the appropriate menu tab on the left for the related setting.

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1. Quick Access Toolbar

When using Excel, one of the most important options to look at is the Quick Access Toolbar configuration. This convenient location is perfect for getting things done quickly. For example, you might want a Save As button instead of just Save, or a quick option to email the file.

To show a list of possibilities, pick “Quick Access Toolbar” and utilize the Choose Commands From drop-down box. Select a command from the list and press “Add” to add it to the toolbar on the right. To save your changes, click “OK.”

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2. Font Style and Size

If you have a favorite font, you should modify the default style and size. With each new worksheet you open, you may prefer a certain font style or be compelled to utilize a specific size.

Go to the When Creating New Workbooks section by selecting “General” on the left. The first two choices here are for the default font style and size. Make your choices in the drop-down boxes and then click “OK” to save them.

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3. View for New Sheets

While not as frequent as altering the default font, the view you use in Excel may require modification. You may want to constantly work in Page Layout View or just open new sheets in Page Break View.

Go to the When Creating New Workbooks section and choose “General.” Select the desired view from the Default View for New Sheets drop-down box. In addition to the two previously stated options, you may select “Normal View.” Click “OK” to preserve your selection.

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4. Workbook to Open

Do you frequently access the same Excel workbook? You may configure Excel so that the worksheet you require opens immediately when you run it.
There are two options for accomplishing this. One method includes modifying Excel’s built-in XLSTART folder, which you can learn more about in our how-to for automatically starting certain workbooks.

Another option is to open the workbooks in a folder that you select. Go to the General section after selecting “Advanced.” Next to At Startup, Open All Files In, enter the path for the folder where you’ve saved the workbook you want (you may wish to copy the path using File Explorer) (you may want to copy the path using File Explorer). To save your changes, click “OK.”


5. Number of Recent Workbooks

When you launch Excel and choose a workbook from the Recent Workbooks list, you may change the number that appears. However, the list can get pretty extensive, and you may only need to examine your most recent ten workbooks rather than 50.

Go to the Display section after selecting “Advanced.” Enter a number or use the arrows to navigate up and down at the top of the section, next to Show This Number of Recent Workbooks. To save your changes, click “OK.”


6. Number of Sheets

You may opt to start with a specified number of sheets when creating a new worksheet. Instead of adding them as you go, you may create new workbooks with a set amount of spreadsheets.

Go to the When Creating New Workbooks section and choose “General.” Enter a number next to Include This Many Sheets or use the arrows to select a quantity. To save your changes, click “OK.”


7. Ruler Units

While the ruler defaults to your region’s unit measurement, you may want to alter this to Inches, Centimeters, or Millimeters. This is especially helpful if you work with foreign coworkers.

Go to the Display section after selecting “Advanced.” To select one, use the drop-down box next to Ruler Units. To save your changes, click “OK.”


8. Enter Key Behavior

When you’re entering data into a spreadsheet, pressing the Enter key shifts your mouse down to the cell below. In your situation, though, you might enter your data horizontally to the right or left. When you press the Enter key, you may alter the default direction.

Go to the Editing Options area by selecting “Advanced.” After pressing Enter, Move Selection, use the Direction drop-down box to select Down, Right, Up, or Left. To save your changes, click “OK.”


9. Decimal Places

If you frequently work with decimals in Excel and frequently change the decimal places, you may change this default as well.

Go to the Editing Options area by selecting “Advanced.” Check the option next to Automatically Insert a Decimal Point before entering a number or using the arrows next to Places. To save your changes, click “OK.”


10. Calculation Method

Calculations in Excel spreadsheets are automated by default. You may wish to adjust this setting if you prefer to perform things manually or only automatically for everything except data tables.

Go to the Calculation Options area after selecting “Formulas.” Mark the option you wish to utilize for your workbook calculations on the left side of the section. If you choose Manual, you can mark the option to recalculate the workbook before saving. To save your changes, click “OK.”


11. File Format When Saving

You may also modify the file format if you want something other than the default Excel format, XLSX. This saves you from having to change the Save As file type for new workbooks.

Choose “Save” and navigate to the Save Workbooks area. Select the format from the drop-down list next to Save Files in This Format. There are alternatives such as previous Excel versions, CSV, text, and many more. To save your changes, click “OK.”


12. Pivot Table Layout

Perhaps you often use pivot tables in Excel to analyze vast volumes of data. If you’re frequently altering individual parameters for your pivot tables, modify the defaults instead.

Go to the Data Options section after selecting “Data.” Make Changes to the Default Layout of PivotTables, then click “Edit Default Layout.”


When the Edit Default Layout box appears, make your adjustments using the drop-down boxes and checkbox items. You may, for example, change how subtotals and grand totals look in your table.


To save your changes, click “OK” in the tiny window and the Excel Options window.

Change the defaults instead of altering the same parameters every time you open Excel to save time. Remember that if you change your mind later, you can simply return to the same point in the Excel Options and undo your changes.

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Hi, I'm John, a BS.marine engineering student. I am a Video Editor at Manila Shaker, where I shoot video clips and edit them for our YouTube content.