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8.5: Conditional Formatting

  • Page ID
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    Learning Outcomes

    • Create and apply conditional formatting.

    As we have learned so far, Excel has a wide variety of easy to use tools for organizing, sorting, and otherwise marking information. Think back to when we applied styles to a cell to indicate good information or information that needs to be verified. Excel also has the ability to automatically apply such markings through conditional formatting.

    With conditional formatting, you provide Excel with a rule, such as “less than 10,” and the program will scan through your data and highlight all the cells that meet that rule. There are several rules already available, but you can also create and apply your own rules and visual clues.

    1. Select the cells, rows, or columns you wish to have conditional formatting.
    2. From the Styles group, click on the Conditional Formatting button
    3. Select the style of formatting you would like. Here we have Highlight Cell Rules.
    4. Select the specific type of rule you would like to use and then apply your target value. Here we have selected Less Than.
    An excel sheet with data entered in columns A and B through row 13. There is a green box around the dropdown menu from the conditional formatting feature on the home tab of the ribbon.
    1. The formatting will appear automatically so you can see what it will look like. Note that Excel will automatically provide a value, but you can manually change it.
    2. Hit OK if you wish to apply the formatting. Otherwise, when you leave the formatting menu, it will disappear.
    An excel sheet with data entered in columns A and B through row 13. There is a green box around column B through row 13 showing that it has been selected for more formatting. There is an orange box around the conditional formatting menu in the ribbon. A less than dialog box has been opened to the right of the data in columns A and B.

    One important tool to keep in mind is the ability to enter your own rules. This can include applying formatting to specific date ranges, to specific text (like names), or even cells that are blank. In this case, you also set the format, so instead of highlighting cells you can choose to strikethrough text or change the font, change the size, or bold the text.

    An excel sheet with data entered in columns A and B through row 13. There is a green arrow pointing to the dropdown menu and specifically the option to insert a new rule.
    A new formatting dialog box has been opened.

    Contributors and Attributions

    CC licensed content, Original
    • Formatting. Authored by: Shelli Carter. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution

    8.5: Conditional Formatting is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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