Creating rounded corners in Excel Tables

published on
June 14, 2008
Gary Crawford
COO, XLCubed
Fluence Technologies
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** Please see also the updated article, for XLCubed v7.1 and above: **

Igor Asselbergs was contemplating the value of round corners in design. Is it eye-candy? Or does it add value to the user experience? He comes to the conclusion that rounded corners clearly make a difference.


“On the left side, you see one surface divided by a line. On the right side your eye interprets the image as two adjoining boxes.”

The effect can be explained by the Gestalt Law of Continuity. Gestalt is a set of rules based on research into perception psychology, and a very powerful tool for Excel table design. In table design this effect can help us to see the table columns as a unit.


Did you ever wonder how to create rounded corners in Excel tables?

The basic idea of rounded corners is putting some shape objects into the corners of the column headers.

Here are the steps to create rounded corners:

1. To show the Drawing toolbar, click on the “Drawing” icon in the main toolbar

2. Go to Drawing Bar > Auto Shapes> Basic Shapes and insert an arc and a rectangle


3. Right-click the shapes and select Format Auto Shapes > Colors and Lines. Give the arc the fill color of your table headers, and the rectangle the fill color White. Set “no line” for the both.


4. Right-click the shapes and select Format Auto Shape > Size and assign the arc and the rectangle the size 0.5″x0.5″ and set Lock aspect ratio.\

5. Select the rectangle and move it to cell B2 keeping the ALT key pressed. This ensures that shape snaps to the Excel grid. Do the same for the arc so that it overlaps with the white rectangle.


6. Select the arc and the rectangle and select the right-click command group.

7. To get the corner for the left side copy-paste the shape and go to Draw > Rotate / Flip / Flip Horizontally


8. Set the Size to 0.18″ if you want rounded corners that have the Excel standard row height


9.And put them left and right of your header cell


10. Set the Size to to 0.09″ for corners with 50% row height


11. If your table headers have a different border or fill color, click the corner twice to select the rectangle arc object in the grouped corner object and format the arc with your fill or border color


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