Excel 2010 Tutorial - Conditional Formatting

In this video from the Excel 2010 Tutorial series, School of Technology Program Coordinator, Justin Denton, teaches us all about conditional formatting in Microsoft Excel 2010. This tutorial video is a great beginning step to your courses in technology at Rasmussen College.


So conditional formatting is kind of giving you a quick colorful look to your spreadsheet. So if we go back to that total quantity greater than 20 in B4 through B9, I have a three values that are over 20. Well, I want to be able to quickly highlight those, because I don't want to have to scan through these and actually find out which ones are greater than 20.

What we can do is what's called conditional formatting. So if I go back up to this cell range and highlight the original range, the quantity on hand, and on the Home tab there's this option called conditional formatting. If I click conditional formatting, they give you quite a few different rules. Highlight cell rules, top bottom rules, data bars, color scales, icon sets.

What I want to do is highlight my cells that are greater than 20 in that range. So I select highlight cells, select greater than. And I want to highlight cells that are greater than-- and it defaults by 47.5-- I want to highlight cells that are greater than 20. You'll see as I type this in on the fly, it's doing it in the background. With a given color fill. I can do the defaults-- red, yellow, green, everything like that, put a red border in, make the text red, or I could do a custom format.

If you go into custom format, the sky's the limit on what formatting options you have. You can change the font. You can change the fill color. You can apply number formatting to it. In this instance, we'll just go with one of the basic ones. Keep it easy. It's first time we're doing it. Let's do light red fill with dark red text. So when I click OK, on the fly, I'll have colored formatting.

So if this value happens to drop below 20-- let's say it's 19 now-- it's smart enough to now unhighlight that from being red, because it's now no longer meeting the criteria we specified. If we go back up and make it 21, it'll go ahead and turn red. If I maybe make this 5 95, it'll turn red. 51, and maybe, like, 25. Now I've got all my values in bright red. I can go back and change all these-- two, three-- and it'll go ahead and unhighlight all of them.

We've applied one conditional formatting rule to this. We can actually stack conditional formatting rules. So what I like to do is I like a stop sign effect. It's just the way I like doing it. So I'll go back in here. I'll highlight those cell ranges again. And I'll repeat the process.

I want to do less than-- you've got to break it back down a different way. So we're going to do less than 20. Then I want to yellow fill. And then you've got anything that's above 20 is red. Anything less than 20 is a yellow fill. And then we need to make a green one. So we want to make anything less than 10 green.

So let's make one over 10. Let's make this one 15. If I go back and highlight that range again and do cell rules less than 10, make it green fill, and then hit OK, now I've got my stoplight effect. So anything that's below 10 is green. Below 20 is yellow. Anything that's greater than 20 now happens to be red. So as these change on the fly-- 5, green, 50, red, 16, yellow. They'll now automatically color code.

Now, right now, we're messing with a static field. It's not calculated. But you can do the same kind of rules to a calculated field. So if we go back over here, because these are our calculated fields, we have a formula that actually creates the value here. Then we apply those same conditional formatting rules to this. So we want anything that's over $100 to be green. So if I go in here, conditional formatting rule greater than, over 100, I want it to be green.

Cool. I go back in here. Anything that's less than 100, I want it to be yellow. And then anything less than 50, I want it to be red.

So now I've got my calculated field here. It's doing the same thing that we were doing earlier, except without me walking and punching numbers in. I can change that one central point and see all my values change automatically. So by just changing this value here, I can tell that everything's updating on the fly.

So as you're maybe doing a report or something like that, as long as you've got conditional formatting built into your report, it'll go ahead and keep key fields updated on the fly. I usually typically use this for, like, my grade book. where I've got the stop sign effect on student grades. If they've got an A, they're green. If they've got a C, they turn yellow. And if they've got anything below a D, it turns bright red. So I know I need to bring his attention to that grade, so I can maybe have a discussion or find out something like that.

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Kendall Bird is an Online Community Specialist for Rasmussen College. With her Bachelor’s degree in public relations and a passion for social media, she enjoys writing motivating and enthusiastic blog content to encourage future, current and former students to learn more about their discipline of study. Kendall’s ultimate goal is to generate a positive community through blogging to promote learning and change lives.

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