Excel 2013: Conditional Formatting

Introduction:

Let’s imagine you have a worksheet with thousands of rows of data. It would be extremely difficult to see patterns and trends just from examining the raw information. Similar to charts and sparklines, conditional formatting provides another way to visualize data and make worksheets easier to understand.

Understanding conditional formatting

Conditional formatting allows you to automatically apply formatting—such as colors, icons, and data bars—to one or more cells based on the cell value. To do this, you’ll need to create a conditional formatting rule. For example, a conditional formatting rule might be: “If the value is less than $2000, color the cell red.” By applying this rule, you’d be able to quickly see which cells contain values under $2000.

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To create a conditional formatting rule:

In our example, we have a worksheet containing sales data, and we’d like to see which salespeople are meeting their monthly sales goals. The sales goal is $4000 per month, so we’ll create a conditional formatting rule for any cells containing a value higher than 4000.

  1. Select the desired cells for the conditional formatting rule.Screenshot of Excel 2013
  2. From the Home tab, click the Conditional Formatting command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Hover the mouse over the desired conditional formatting type, then select the desired rule from the menu that appears. In our example, we want to highlight cells that are greater than $4000.

    Screenshot of Excel 2013
  4. A dialog box will appear. Enter the desired value(s) into the blank field. In our example, we’ll enter 4000 as our value.
  5. Select a formatting style from the drop-down menu. In our example, we’ll choose Green Fill with Dark Green Text, then click OK.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013
  6. The conditional formatting will be applied to the selected cells. In our example, it’s easy to see which salespeople reached the $4000 sales goal for each month.
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You can apply multiple conditional formatting rules to a cell range or worksheet, allowing you to visualize different trends and patterns in your data.

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To remove conditional formatting:

  1. Click the Conditional Formatting command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  2. Hover the mouse over Clear Rules, and choose which rules you wish to clear. In our example, we’ll select Clear Rules from Entire Sheet to remove all conditional formatting from the worksheet.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013
  3. The conditional formatting will be removed.
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Click Manage Rules to edit or delete individual rules. This is especially useful if you have applied multiple rules to a worksheet.

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Conditional formatting presets

Excel has a number of predefined styles, or presets, you can use to quickly apply conditional formatting to your data. They are grouped into three categories:

  • Data Bars are horizontal bars added to each cell, much like a bar graph.
    Data Bars
  • Color Scales change the color of each cell based on its value. Each color scale uses a two- or three-color gradient. For example, in the Green – Yellow – Red color scale, the highest values are green, the average values are yellow, and the lowest values are red.
    Color Scales
  • Icon Sets add a specific icon to each cell based on its value.
    Icon Sets

To use preset conditional formatting:

  1. Select the desired cells for the conditional formatting rule.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013
  2. Click the Conditional Formatting command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Hover the mouse over the desired preset, then choose a preset style from the menu that appears.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013
  4. The conditional formatting will be applied to the selected cells.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013

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  1. Ajay Satpute

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