How to Use Conditional Formatting In Excel 2010 (Guide)

This article will teach you how to use Conditional Formatting in Excel 2010. Illustrative pictures included!

Microsoft Excel is an incredibly handy program that provides a whole bunch of very useful features, helping us get our day-to-day work done in an organized and practical fashion. In fact, Microsoft’s spreadsheet program provides so many different functions, that we often don’t even know the full extent of Excel’s capabilities, even though sometimes we might very much be in need of them.

One of the many features included in Excel’s arsenal is a thing called conditional formatting. Conditional formatting is a tool that enables users to format certain cells in their spreadsheet based on their value or formula. For example, if you wanted to highlight all the cells with number higher than, say, 47, conditional formatting will allow you to do that. The same tool will also enable you to make sure that when a certain cell meets a given criteria, its format will automatically change to what you’ve predetermined. Another example is if you would like the cell’s format to change to bold, when the number in a specific cell reaches a value of over 12. This is essentially a feature seeking to give your spreadsheet a neater look and make it easier for you to look through it, as it will simply be more organized. A single cell can even have as much as three format conditions, each having its own format.

  • There is one point that ought to be made here, though. When applying a certain conditional formatting in Excel 2010 to a larger number of cells, this could cause malfunctions and may cause the program’s performance to worsen. Below we will show you the basics of working with the conditional formatting tool, but feel free to drop us a line in the comment section, if you have any additional questions or would like to clarify something.

How to Use Conditional Formatting In Excel 2010

The Guide

Highlight Cells:

  1. To highlight cells, based on their value, go to the Home tab and select Conditional Formatting.
  2. Click the first option in the menu (Highlight Cells Rules) and another list of options will appear to the right. You can choose from Greater Than, Less Than, Between, Equal To, etc., based on what you need. For this example we will go with the first option: Greater Than… for column A.
  3. In the designated field, enter the value you want and choose how you would like the cells to be formatted. There are several options available in the dropdown menu, but you can also customize the format to suit your taste. Click OK.
  4. As shown in the below image, the cells with a value greater than 30 were highlighted red and the font color was also changed to red.

Clear conditional formatting:

Now let’s see how you remove the formatting rules, after you’ve set them. You can do this either for a section of the spreadsheet or for the entire spreadsheet. For this example we set conditional formatting for column A, so we will be removing it for that column.

  1. Select the desired column/row/cell. Again, from the Home tab click on Conditional Formatting -> Clear Rules -> Clear Rules from Selected Cells.
  2. This will remove all the conditional formatting, as shown here:

Is there anything else you would like to learn about conditional formatting or Excel in general? Let us know in the comments!


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