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Conditional Formatting Excel 2003

With conditional formatting, you can select one or more cells, and create rules for when and how those cells are formatted. Click here for instructions in newer versions of Excel

What is Conditional Formatting?

Conditional formatting allows you to select one or more cells, and create rules for when and how those cells are formatted.

You can control the cell font, fill colour and border setting, based on the selected cell's contents, or based on the contents of another cell.

If the rules (conditions) that you specified are met, then the formatting is applied.

For example, you can set conditional formatting so that a cell turns blue or green, based on its value.

Sample Conditional Formatting

NOTE: In Excel 2003, and earlier versions, you can have up to 3 rules for each cell. (Note: To apply more than 3 conditional formas in a cell in Excel 2003 and earlier versions, you would need to use programming.)

Watch the Excel Tutorial Video

To view the steps for adding condtional formatting, watch this short Excel video tutorial. There are written instructions below the video.

Apply Conditional Formatting to a Cell

In this example, you'll set conditional formats so that a cell:

  • turns blue if it contains a value higher than 75 and
  • turns green if it contains a value lower than 50.

NOTE: If you want to change the formatting in multiple cells, based on a value in one cell, go to this example: Format Entire Row Based on One Cell

Follow these steps to apply conditional formatting to cells:

1. Select the cells to be formatted. In this example, cells B2:B4 are selected.
2. On the menu bar, choose Format>Conditional Formatting...

Select Cells

3. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, leave the first drop-down box set to Cell Value Is
4. In the second drop-down box, choose one of the operators. In this example, choose 'greater than'
5. In the text box, type a number or a cell reference. In this example, type the value you want to check -- 75.

conditional formatting rules

6. Click the Format button
7. On the Patterns tab, select a colour for the conditional formatting. In this example, a medium blue fill colour is selected.
You can also choose a Font format or a cell Border.
8. Click OK, to close the Format Cells dialog box.

Format Cells

9. If you want to add another conditional format, click the Add button.
10. Repeat steps 3 to 8, using the values and colours that you want for the second conditional format.
11. Click OK, to return to the worksheet.

Set Conditions

In the example shown at the right, cell B2 contains a value of 76, so it is formatted with a blue fill colour, because it's greater than 75.

Cell B4 is green, because it's value is less than 50.

Sample Conditional Formatting

Download the Sample File

Click here to download a zipped sample file for this tutorial.

More Tutorials

Format Entire Row Based on One Cell

Conditional Formatting -- Examples

Conditional Formatting Documentation

Conditional Formatting Data Bars

Last updated: November 23, 2017 2:13 PM
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