How to create rounded borders in Excel

Updated April 17, 2017

Microsoft Excel doesn't have a specific function that creates rounded borders. However, the shape tool offers a useful workaround to give the appearance of rounded borders in each cell. It's a handy effect if you want to highlight particular data or add some style to column headers. The process is most straightforward if you input all of your spreadsheet data first, then add the rounded borders once complete. Otherwise, you will have to move each image to enter information underneath - a time-consuming process.

Click "View" from the options menu on the toolbar. Scroll down and choose "Zoom." Increase the magnification to 200 percent. This makes it much easier to create shapes that fit inside individual cells.

Single-click the "Insert" tab on the toolbar. Select "Shape." A box should appear with a series of blue shapes. Click once on the rectangle with the rounded corners.

Move your cursor to the main Excel spreadsheet. Your cursor should turn into a small cross. Position the cursor in the top left corner of a cell. Click and hold your mouse button or trackpad down and move the cursor to the bottom right of the cell. Release the cursor.

Adjust the rounded rectangle by clicking on the shape and moving the corners in a little bit at a time. Aim to line the rectangle borders up with the borders of the cell.

Right-click on the rounded rectangle. Choose "Format shape" from the pop-up menu list. You should see a range of settings. Choose the "Fill" option.

Select the colour white from the drop down "Fill" menu. Slide the "Transparency" setting along to 100 percent. Click "OK." This should create a see-through rounded rectangle with the borders still intact on each cell.

Select the rounded rectangle on your spreadsheet. Press Ctrl and C to copy the shape. Use Ctrl and V to paste the shape into a new cell. Repeat this until all your cells are full and you now have rounded borders in Excel.


If you only want rounded borders for the outside of your spreadsheet, create a single rectangle that covers all of your entries.


Save your progress regularly or you may lose your work.

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