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Category: Formatting

Excel provides predefined formatting options for font size, color, line spacing, alignment etc that allows users  to quickly style worksheet cells.

Basic outline numbering in Excel

This tutorial shows how to create 1st and 2nd level outline formatting using excel formulas. To generate basic outline numbering you can use COUNTA, MID, FIND, IF, and LEN functions. Note: The formula used will only handle a 2-level outline. Explanation In the example shown, the formula in D5 is: =COUNTA($B$5:B5)&”.”&IF(B5<>””,1, MID(D4,FIND(“.”,D4)+1,LEN(D4))+1) How this formula works At the core, this formula builds…

Clean and reformat telephone numbers using SUBSTITUTE function in Excel

One way to clean up and reformat telephone numbers is to strip out all extraneous characters, then apply Excel’s built-in telephone number format. Formula =SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE (SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A1,”(“,””), “)”,””),”-“,””),” “,””),”.”,””)+0 Note that the cell appears in the middle, with function names above and substitutions below. Not only does this make the formula easier to read, it also makes it easier to add…

Shade alternating groups of n rows in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Shade alternating groups of n rows in Excel using the example below; Formula =ISEVEN(CEILING(ROW()-offset,n)/n) Explanation To highlight rows in groups of “n” (i.e. shade every 3 rows, every 5 rows, etc.) you can apply conditional formatting with a formula based on the ROW, CEILING and ISEVEN functions. In the example shown, the formula used to…

Highlight rows that contain in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight rows that contain in Excel using the example below; Formula =SEARCH(text,cocatenated_columns) Explanation If you want to highlight rows in a table that contain specific text, you use conditional formatting with a formula that returns TRUE when the the text is found. The trick is to concatenate (glue together) the columns you want to search…

Highlight row and column intersection exact match in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight row and column intersection exact match in Excel using the example below; Formula =OR($A1=row_val,A$1=col_val) Explanation To highlight intersecting row(s) and column(s) with conditional formatting based on exact matching, you can use a simple formula based on mixed references and the OR function. In the example shown, the formula used to apply conditional formatting is:…

Highlight numbers that include symbols in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight numbers that include symbols in Excel using the example below; Formula =IF(ISNUMBER(B4),B4<input,IF(LEFT(B4)=”<“,(MID(B4,2,LEN(B4))+0)<input)) Explanation To highlight numbers less than a certain value, including numbers entered as text like “<9”, “<10”, etc., you can use conditional formatting with a formula strips the symbols as needed and handles the result as a number. In the example shown,…

Highlight rows with blank cells in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight rows with blank cells in Excel using the example below; Formula =COUNTBLANK($B5:$F5) Explanation To highlight rows that contain one or more blank cells. you can conditional formatting with a simple formula based on the COUNTBLANK function. In the example shown, the range B5:F15 is formatted with a conditional formatting rule based on this formula: =COUNTBLANK($B5:$F5)…

Highlight values not between X and Y in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight values not between X and Y in Excel using the example below; Formula =OR(A1<lower,A1>upper) Explanation If you want to use conditional formatting to highlight cells that are NOT between two values (a lower and upper limit), you can use a simple formula that returns TRUE when a value meets that condition. For example, if…

Highlight values greater than in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight values greater than in Excel using the example below; Note: Excel contains built-in “presets” for highlighting values above / below / equal to certain values, but if you want more flexibility you can apply conditional formatting with your own formula as explained in this article. Formula =A1>X Explanation If you want to highlight cells…

Highlight values between in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight values between in Excel using the example below; Formula =AND(A1>=lower,A1<=upper) Explanation Note: Excel contains many built-in “presets” for highlighting values above / below / between / equal to certain values, but if you want more flexibility you can apply conditional formatting using your own formula as explained in this article. If you want to…

Highlight top values in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight top values in Excel using the example below; Formula =A1>=LARGE(data,N) Explanation To highlight the highest values in a set of data with conditional formatting, you can use a formula based on the LARGE function. In the example shown, the formula used for conditional formatting is: =B4>=LARGE(data,input) Note: Excel contain a conditional formatting “preset” that highlights…

Highlight unprotected cells in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight unprotected cells in Excel using the example below; Formula =CELL(“PROTECT”,A1)=0 Explanation To highlight unprotected cells (cells that are unlocked) with conditional formatting, you can use a formula based on the CELL function. In the example shown, the custom formula used to set up conditional formatting is: =CELL(“PROTECT”,A1)=0 Where A1 represents the active cell in the selection…

Highlight unique values in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight unique values in Excel using the example below; Formula =COUNTIF(data,A1)=1 Explanation Excel contains many built-in “presets” for highlighting values with conditional formatting, including a preset to highlight unique values. However, if you want more flexibility, you can highlight unique values with your own formula, as explained in this article. If you want to highlight…

Highlight rows with dates between In Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight rows with dates between In Excel using the example below; Formula =AND($A1>=start,$A1<=end) Explanation If you want to highlight rows that contain dates between two dates with conditional formatting, you can use a formula based on the AND and DATE functions. In the example, shown, the range B5:E11 has a conditional formatting rule applied using…

Excel Data validation allow text only

This tutorial shows how to create Data validation to allow text only in Excel using the example below; Formula =ISTEXT(A1) Explanation To allow only text in a cell, you can use data validation with a custom formula based on the ISTEXT function. In the example shown, the data validation applied to C5:C9 is: =ISTEXT(C5) How this formula works Data validation rules…

Excel Data validation allow numbers only

This tutorial shows how to create Data validation to allow numbers only in Excel using the example below; Formula =ISNUMBER(A1) Explanation Note: Excel has several built-in data validation rules for numbers. This page explains how to create a your own validation rule based on a custom formula. To allow only numbers in a cell, you can use data validation with a custom…

Highlight dates in same month and year in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight dates in same month and year in Excel  using the example below; Formula =TEXT(A1,”myyyy”)=TEXT(date,”myyyy”) Explanation If you want to use conditional formatting to highlight dates that are in the same month and year as another date, you can use a simple formula based on the TEXT function. For example, if you have dates in…

Highlight dates in the next N days in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight dates in the next N days in Excel  using the example below; Formula =AND(A1>TODAY(),A1<=(TODAY()+days)) Explanation If you want to highlight dates that occur in the next N days with conditional formatting, you can do so with a formula that uses the TODAY function with AND. This is a great way to visually flag things…

Highlight dates that are weekends in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight dates that are weekends in Excel  using the example below; Formula =OR(WEEKDAY(A1)=7,WEEKDAY(A1)=1) Explanation If you want to use conditional formatting to highlight dates occur on weekends (i.e. Saturday or Sunday),  you can use a simple formula based on the WEEKDAY function. For example, if you have dates in the range C4:C10, and want to…

Highlight duplicate columns in Excel

This tutorial shows how to  Highlight duplicate columns in Excel using the example below; Formula =SUMPRODUCT((row1=ref1)*(row2=ref2)*(row3=ref3))>1 Explanation Excel contains a built-in preset for highlighting duplicate values with conditional formatting, but it only works at the cell level. If you want to find and highlight duplicate columns, you’ll need to use your own formula, as explained below. To highlight duplicate columns,…

Highlight duplicate rows in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight duplicate rows in Excel using the example below; Formula =COUNTIFS(A:A,$A1,B:B,$B1,C:C,$C1) Explanation Excel contains a built-in preset for highlighting duplicate values with conditional formatting, but it only works at the cell level. If you want to highlight entire rows that are duplicates you’ll need to use your own formula, as explained below. If you want to…

Highlight duplicate values in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight duplicate values in Excel using the example below; Formula =COUNTIF(data,A1)>1 Explanation Note: Excel contains many built-in “presets” for highlighting values with conditional formatting, including a preset to highlight duplicate values. However, if you want more flexibility, you can highlight duplicates with your own formula, as explained in this article. If you want to highlight…

Highlight integers only in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight integers only in Excel using the example below; Formula =MOD(A1,1)=0 Explanation To highlight numbers that are integers, you can use a simple formula based on the MOD function. In the example shown, conditional formatting has been applied to the range B4:G11 using this formula: =MOD(B4,1)=0 Note: it’s important that CF formulas be entered relative to…

Highlight entire rows in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight entire rows in Excel using the example below; Formula =($A1=criteria) Explanation To highlight entire rows with conditional formatting when a value meets specific criteria, use a formula with a mixed reference that locks the column. In the example shown, all rows where the owner is “bob” are highlighted with the following formula applied to B5:E12: =$D5=”Bob” Note: CF…

Highlight every other row in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight every other row in Excel using the example below; Formula =ISEVEN(ROW()) Explanation If you want to highlight every other row in a table (sometimes called zebra striping) with conditional formatting you can do so with a simple formula that uses either the ISEVEN or ISODD function. For example, if you want to highlight every…

Highlight multiples of specific value in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight multiples of specific value in Excel using the example below; Formula =MOD(A1,value)=0 Explanation To highlight numbers that are multiples of a another number with conditional formatting, you can use a simple formula based on the MOD function. In the example shown, the formula used to highlight multiples of 9 is: =MOD(B4,$E$2)=0 Note: formula is entered…

Highlight missing values in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight missing values in Excel using the example below; Formula =COUNTIF(list,A1)=0 Explanation To compare lists and highlight values that exist in one but not the other,  you can apply conditional formatting with a formula based on the COUNTIF function. For example, to highlight values A1:A10 that don’t exist C1:C10, select A1:A10 and create a conditional formatting rule…

Highlight dates greater than in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight dates greater than in Excel using the example below; Formula =A1>DATE(year,month,day) Explanation If you want to highlight dates greater than or less than a certain date with conditional formatting, you can use a simple formula that relies on the date function. For example, if you have dates in the cells B4:G11, and want to…

Highlight dates between in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight dates between in Excel using the example below; Formula =AND(A1>=date1,A1<=date2) Explanation If you want to highlight dates between two dates with conditional formatting, you can use a simple formula that uses the AND and DATE functions together. For example, if you have dates in the range B4:G11, and want to highlight cells that contain a…

Highlight data by quartile in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight data by quartile in Excel using the example below; Formula =A1>=QUARTILE(data,quart) Explanation To highlight cells by quartile, you can apply conditional formatting with a formula that uses the QUARTILE function. In the example shown, we are using 4 different conditional formatting rules. Each rule highlights a quartile in the range B4:F11 using the QUARTILE…

Highlight column differences in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight column differences in Excel using the example below; Formula =$A1<>$B1 Explanation If you want to highlight the differences between two columns of data with conditional formatting you can do so with a simple formula that uses the” not equal to” operator (e.g. <>) and mixed references. For example, if you have similar data in B2:B11…

Highlight cells that equal in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight cells that equal in Excel using the example below; Formula =A1=”X” Explanation Note: Excel contains many built-in “presets” for highlighting values with conditional formatting, including a preset to highlight cells that contain a specific value. However, if you want more flexibility, you can use your own formula, as explained in this article. If you…

Highlight cells that end with in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight cells that end with in Excel using the example below; Formula =COUNTIF(A1,”*text”) Explanation Note: Excel contains many built-in rules for highlighting values with conditional formatting, including a rule to highlight cells that end with specific text. However, if you want more flexibility, you can use your own formula, as explained in this article. If you…

Highlight cells that contain one of many in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight cells that contain one of many in Excel using the example below; Formula =SUMPRODUCT(–ISNUMBER(SEARCH(things,A1)))>0 Explanation To highlight cells that contain one of many text strings, you can use a formula based on the functions ISNUMBER and SEARCH, together with the SUMPRODUCT function. In the example shown, the conditional formatting applied to B4:B11 is based on…

Highlight cells that contain in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight cells that contain in Excel  using the example below; Formula =ISNUMBER(SEARCH(substring,A1)) Explanation Note: Excel contains many built-in “presets” for highlighting values with conditional formatting, including a preset to highlight cells that contain specific text. However, if you want more flexibility, you can use your own formula, as explained in this article. If you want to…

Highlight cells that begin with in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight cells that begin with in Excel using the example below; Formula =SEARCH(“substring”,A1)=1 Explanation Note: Excel contains many built-in “presets” for highlighting values with conditional formatting, including a preset to highlight cells that begin with specific text. However, if you want more flexibility, you can use your own formula, as explained in this article. If…

Highlight bottom values in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight bottom values in Excel using the example below; Formula =A1<=SMALL(data,N) Explanation To highlight the smallest (bottom) values in a set of data with conditional formatting, you can use a formula based on the SMALL function. In the example shown, the formula used for conditional formatting is: =B4<=SMALL(data,input) Note: Excel contain a conditional formatting “preset” that highlights…

Highlight blank cells in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight blank cells in Excel using the example below; Formula =ISBLANK(A1) Explanation If you want to highlight cells that are blank or empty with conditional formatting, you can do so with a simple formula based on the ISBLANK function. For example, if you want to highlight blank cells in the range B4:G11, just select the range…

Highlight approximate match lookup conditional formatting in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Highlight approximate match lookup conditional formatting in Excel using the example below; Formula =OR($B5=LOOKUP(width,widths),B$5=LOOKUP(height,heights)) Explanation To highlight rows and columns associated with an approximate match, you can use conditional formatting with a formula based on the LOOKUP function together with with a logical function like OR or AND. In the example shown, the formula used to…

Find duplicate values in two columns in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Find duplicate values in two columns in Excel using the example below; Formula =AND(COUNTIF(range1,A1),COUNTIF(range2,A1)) Explanation To highlight duplicate values in two or more columns, you can use conditional formatting with on a formula based on the COUNTIF and AND functions. In the example shown, the formula used to highlight duplicate values is: =AND(COUNTIF(range1,B5),COUNTIF(range2,B5)) Both ranges were…