Color-coding your data lets you tell at a glance whether your numbers are up
or down. Using Excel's conditional formatting features, you can set up your
sheet so that cells change colors depending on what their values are--a great
way to make your cells easy to read:
- Select the cells that you want to color-code. To select noncontiguous
cells, hold down Ctrl as you click.
- Select Format/Conditional Formatting. In the Conditional Formatting dialog
box, you'll set the conditions for the cells. In the first field on the
left, decide whether you want the condition based on the value of a cell or
formula. In the second field, select which conditional terms apply. In the
third field, fill in the value for the cell, or use the third and fourth to
fill in a range. For example, if you wanted to create a conditional format
for a Total cell, you could select Cell Value Is for the first field,
"Greater than or equal to" for the second, and enter 1,000 in the
third field as the value.
- In the same dialog box, click Format to set the cell's appearance when the
condition is met. You can set options related to font, border, and pattern.
If you just want to set the color, choose the Patterns tab, and select a
color for the cell. For our example, you might select green, so that the
Total cell will glow green when it hits the 1,000 mark.
- Click OK to complete the first condition.
- If you want to add another condition to the cell, click Add and repeat the
steps to fill in Condition 2. Otherwise, click OK to put the conditional
format in place.
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