Excel Basics Conditional Formatting – do you use it in Excel?

Excel Basics Conditional Formatting – how to use it in Excel and the ‘Stop if True’ option

Excel basics conditional formatting: Excel iconThis week’s hint and tip is about how to use conditional formatting in Excel. This is on our Basic Excel training course and it covers how to use it in Excel as well as the ‘Stop if True’ option. We are going to go through it now below.


What is it?

Conditional formatting is an option within Excel that can be used to bring some colour to your spreadsheet. It allows you to highlight​ parts of the data in your spreadsheet to make it stand out. It can help you bring your data to life in your spreadsheets. Also it displays a quick overview of your data without having to look at the individual entries of data. It is often used to show any issues or problem areas. A common way is linking the conditional formatting in with the ‘traffic light’ system of Red, Amber, Green. This system is used by businesses to describe if their data (often sales figures) is positive or not.


Where to find it

The conditional formatting button is found on the Home Tab. It has several options that you can use from highlight cell rules to icon sets and data bars. The option you choose will depend on your data and how you want it to be displayed, but the steps in carrying it out follow the same structure. Once you have created your ‘Rules’ you can amend them using the ‘Manage Rules’ option on the drop down menu.


The video below shows you what conditional formatting is and how you can apply it to your data. It demonstrates 3 different ways to apply it as well as the Stop if True option and what that does.

Take a look below at the video to find out more. After this, try it out using the example spreadsheet below!

Click here to download the example spreadsheet shown in the video to try it out yourself!

We hope you have enjoyed this hint and tip on Excel basics conditional formatting, why not take a look at our previous one on creating smart letters and a table of contents?