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.


Then we have the big one, which is conditional formatting, because that is always fun to mess around with. So conditional formatting is when you're keying off on given reports. The one conditional format I put in was if last year sales or current year sales is greater than last year sales, I want to have this column flag as a green. Or you might want to put a word in there or something like that. Whereas, if last year sales or current year sales is less than last year sales, I want it to build up in red.

So we do that. You will actually be on the Home tab underneath the style section. We will have a Conditional Formatting button. We'll click that.

You have some default ones that are already built out. I guess I am not really into the default, but you can work with the defaults. They're fairly easy. You have got some icon sets that you can create and put little flags in there. There is nothing wrong with any of that. I like seeing what I am building, so I will use New Rule.

So a new rule, you have some generic ones. You have got a Format All Cells Based on Their Value, Format Only Cells That Contain. So in this instance, you will say if the cell value contains equal to, not equal to, between, whatever, then you will format the cell. For the one we are working with, I am using Use The Formula to Determine Which Cells To Format.

When we went through formulas, it also reinforces the formula principles. So if you work with formulas a little bit more, you will remember them quite well. So my formula is if-- let me click in here. So select that. If I want to put, if B5 is less than C5, and that is my formula. That is it. I click the cell, put the less than sign, click the other cell. It builds the formula for the most part for you.

Then your criteria is, what format do you want to set. Well, if it's less than, that means my sales are less, so I want it to be a red. So I'll flag it as a red. I hit OK. OK, again. And that is it. And it automatically formats on the fly.

Well, I have a negative value now. I don't have a positive value so, if this number goes into 3,100, well, I can do the same thing. I can build another rule in that same cell that creates a positive value. It's the same process, Conditional Formatting, New Rule, Use the Formulas to Determine.


So I want to know if B5 is greater than C5, then I am going to format it in green. Gives me a positive feel that we are doing good in this region for sales. OK through it. And it's now automatically formatted in green, because the current sales is greater. If it's less, it will go ahead and flip back to red. Once you build the conditional formatting rule, you're set.

Now, what if they're equal? I want to have just a different color. Green is positive. Red is a negative thing.

Well, if it's the same, then I might want to bring a little attention to it. I do not want it to format in red because there is not a critical concern. I do not want it to format in green, because it's not a really big positive the sales stayed the same.

So I can create a third rule on that cell, and say if B5 equals C5, I am just going to format it in yellow. I am going to put brackets around this just in case. So now, if I do 2,800, it will format in yellow. So now-- Yeah?

So you have got three rules on that one cell.


So you can create all three, or is it remembering? How did it turn red when you changed that? So it will remember. So if I go in here, and I go back to 2,700, it will turn red, do 3,100, it will do green.

Because there is three formulas on that one cell.

On that one cell. So if you want to manage those formulas, if you are not for sure, because that is where I forgot I had formatted and had to remove the green one, because I was messing around. So if I go back in here, you have this Manage Rules. So depending on what cell you have selected, it will tell you all the rules that are applied to that cell. And then if you want, you can select the rule, hit Edit Rule, remove the rule. If you want to add new rules that Manage Rules window will allow you to really, really work with that cell quite a bit.

So you can then copy that one cell and add to all the other cells?

Yeah. If I copy this, paste it down here, when positive, which might be wrong. 5,500. It didn't take the conditional formatting. Yeah, it did. Oh, you know what?

You can change your datas.

Yeah. What you'll end up wanting to do, because the formula string has got the dollar sign when you're building these out, if you're going to do the copy and paste, that is where we are talking about that dollar sign in the cell reference. I will have to edit my rule.

Let me go back here real quick. Let me undo this. So go back here. I will edit these rules. And you have got to get rid of the dollar signs, because when we copy, it will increment all these values.

I will quickly do this. Because by default on the conditional rules, it makes it a constant. So now, if I copy this, paste it, now it will apply. So if I put 5,500, it will go yellow.

So it's just one thing that you have to look at. So when you're building out your conditional formatting, if you know you're going to copy it after you've built one format out, then just make sure those cell references do not have the dollar signs, because then it will only reference back to the original cell you built it against. Sound good? Cool.

Kendall Bird

Kendall is a Social Media Strategist at Collegis Education who is focused on bringing awareness and engagement to Rasmussen College's social media properties. She is passionate about helping others, the power of education and building strategies that put the needs of students first. 


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