How to Use Conditional Formatting in Excel

Updated on: December 27, 2022

Giving your worksheet an advanced look and order now is possible with conditional formatting. This fantastic tool applies some extra details and design to your information depending on the specific conditional rules you want to lay out. Keep reading because this article will teach you how to use conditional formatting in Excel

Before starting, you should know that this tool can be used for formulas, visualizing, and checking the information in your spreadsheet, among other things. Moreover, this is an excellent aid to highlight top values or stand out some differences between one kind of information to another and can also tell you when a number is below a certain standard.

The main conditional formatting

There are three standard and quick conditional formatting, all of which you can find in the “conditional formatting” option from the “Styles” group in the “Home” tab. Then, you just need to select the range of cells to which you want to apply the rules and pick the option you consider better:

Data Bars

This option will show, by default, the bigger data bar according to your higher value in the range cell selection you’ve chosen. You can also decide if using a gradient bar or a solid one in the visualization. 

However, if you need to change the values or some specific condition, you can go to the end of the pop-up data bar option and click on “More rules.” Then Excel will open a dialog box where you can observe and pick other conditions and change what you consider best for you.

Color Scales

This function will show you a gradient of colors based on which value is lower or higher. You can choose the colors you prefer in the pop-up context menu or in the dialog box you can find when clicking on the “More rules” option.

Icon Sets

Finally, this conditional formatting will help you to visualize the status of some value you may have in the selected range with small images like arrows, flags, check marks, stars, and so on!

These main aids are intuitive, so even if you want to add something concrete or establish another rule, you can always go to the “More rules” option, read and select the condition according to your needs.

Highlight Cell Rules

Another conditional formatting you can find when you click on the option in the Styles group is the “Highlight Cell Rules” that will enable you to highlight cells in a particular color depending on the cell’s value. 

This option may help you when you have more than an increased list of values. It also allows you to stand out dates when two values are equal or a specific statement or phrase, which is helpful when working with texts instead of numbers.

Top/Bottom rules

This fantastic aid allows you to organize your data in your data set. Once you pick this option and select one of the subfunctions that it has, you will obtain a little dialog box in which you can decide which set fits best.

In summary, conditional formatting is straightforward and will give your tables and worksheets a refined look. So don’t be afraid and try the options by yourself.

Lorena M. Rodas leverages her experience across film, writing, and production to make complex tech concepts accessible through storytelling. With a background spanning sci-fi, AI, and emerging tech, Lorena translates her depth of knowledge into engaging, educational content. She is an expert at decoding high-level topics to reach broad audiences.
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