"How To Excel" Mini-Tutorials
by TheExcelAddict.com
"Helping Average Spreadsheet Users Become Local Spreadsheet Experts"

How To Create A Table Of Contents In Excel

Here's a cool little trick that I'm sure you'll find uses for.

You know sometimes when you see a table of contents in a book, it shows a topic on the left, the page number on the right, and a line of repeating dots in between. Using this tip, I'm going to show you how to format cells in Excel to display a line of dots that extend to the right edge of the cell for whatever text you enter in the cells.

Let's try it...

  1. Open a blank worksheet
  2. Select Column B.
  3. Choose Format, Cells, and select the Number tab
  4. Click on the Custom category.
    - The @ symbol is a placeholder for text.
    - The * (asterisk) indicates repetition of the character following it.
    - Therefore, the custom format @*. tells Excel that this cell is text and the dots should be repeated to the right edge of the cell.
  5. With the Custom category selected, enter @*. (at + asterisk + period) in the Type field.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Now, type some text and see the results. Widen the column and see what happens.
If you think about it, there is much more you can do with this tip. You are not limited to using the dot as the repeating character. Try other characters or letters.

Also, you are not limited to using this in cells formatted as text. You can extend the dots (or other characters) to the left of numbers by entering *. (asterisk + period) in front of a number format
(i.e. *.$0.00). Play around with it. You'll probably discover other possibilities.

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Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved by Francis Hayes (The Excel Addict)

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