There are two camps of people in the world. Those who love, love, love Excel (me!) and those who hate, dread, and loathe Excel (probably you).

Does chewing on broken glass watching paint dry while listening to someone scrape nails on a chalkboard sound like more fun than working in Excel? Excellent! This post is for you.

I can help you fall in love with Excel (and boost your bottom line).

All I ask is that you set aside your but’s, can’ts, yucks, no ways, impossibles, and should’s for the next 10 minutes. That’s not asking too much. And think of the rewards!

3 Easy Ways to Make Excel Bright, Creative, and FUN

There are two main complaints I’ve heard from countless small business owners just like you.

1. Excel is boring, tedious, ugly, and is probably secretly planted here by aliens to suck up all our creative juices and send them to Centauri 5 (ok I made that last part up, but it sounds plausible).

2. Excel is too hard, complicated, difficult, and frustrating to use.

Today we’re going to tackle the first one in three easy steps. Next week I’ll post part two in this series to address the second issue. By the end of this post you’ll actually be looking forward to next week’s installment. Swear on my lifetime supply of chocoloate.
Today is all about FUN.

Step 1 Excel for Creative Entrepreneurs: Add Some Color

The very first thing I do when I open up a spreadsheet is add color. Who wants to live in a black and white world? Blah, blah, blah. That’ll suck the life out of you in no time flat.

Here are a couple easy ways to add color in just seconds. I like to think of this as painting. What colors relate to this project? What colors inspire you? Calm you? Energize you? Personally I tend to use colors that tie into my logo and brand. You can pick whatever appeals.


Select the rows, columns, or cells you want to paint by left clicking on it. In the image shown I’ve selected a row by left clicking on it.

Now right click on the selection you made. The options as seen in the image on the left should appear. Click on “Format Cells”
Blog_ExcelStep3You’ll be brought to this abundance of options. You can change font types, font color, add border colors, change the color of cells and more. In the image on the right I’ve selected the Fill tab, picked a rocking shade of green, and clicked ok.

Ta da!

Bland has been banished in just a few clicks.


Step 2 Excel for Creative Entrepreneurs: Add Images

We hang pictures on our walls, take a gazillion selfies on our phones, why not add some to our spreadsheet?


At the top of Excel select the tab Insert. Then click on Image. You will be prompted to choose an image from your files.

Presto, it’s a kitten.

What internet tutorial would be complete without a kitten?


Step 3 Excel for Creative Entrepreneurs: Add Music & Videos

Theme songs, inspiration, relaxation, or even ambient coffee shop sounds. You can have these right in your spreadsheet.

And it’s soooo easy.

Here’s how I quickly added a YouTube video of P!nk singing So What. Please note that you will need to use a separate Tab to add the video.


Go to the Developer tab in Excel as shown in the image to the left. If you don’t see the Developer tab follow the instructions in the next section.

Skip this step if the Developer tab visible.

Go to the File tab and selection Options. You should now see something similar to the image on the left. Select on Customize Ribbon and then check the box labeled Developer (Custom).


Once you are on the Developer tab click Insert and then select Shockwave Flash Object

Using your mouse, right click and hold while dragging the box outline to the size you want the video to be. Release the mouse button to set the size. It’s time to add the video. Click on Properties (#2 in the image)

Paste the YouTube link in the Movie spot and close. I’m using the URL

Click on Design Mode to turn it off.

Voila! You should be able to watch your video now.


My Challenge to You

Now that you’ve got the building blocks, take just 5 or 10 minutes and play in Excel. Think of it as an art project. Make it pretty. Make it intriguing. Make it inspiring. Make it into your space.

I’d love to see what you create. Feel free to post on my Facebook Page. Or tag me on Pinterest if you upload there (@NicoleFende).

This post is part of a regular blogging event hosted by small business experts. This month’s topic: Things We Can’t Do Without in Business. We all have our own must-have accessories to complement our day-to-day activities and get to the next level.Favorite book, pack of oreos, lucky rabbit’s foot, four leaf clover, a kick-a** CRM, or a project management system. Discover the secret ingredient for successful entrepreneurs just like you.