Excel University Blog

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Conditional Formatting

Slow to Fast 1

By Jeff Lenning | February 8, 2021 |

This is the first post in the Slow to Fast series, where we will incrementally improve the task of comparing two lists (commonly called a reconciliation). The illustration I’ll use is a bank reconciliation. We want to compare the list of checks in our accounting system with the list of checks from our bank download.…

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Automatically Format Rows

By Jeff Lenning | January 26, 2021 |

I was recently asked how to set up conditional formatting to format a row based on the value in a column. In this post, I’ll demonstrate how to create a conditional formatting rule that automatically formats a row based on a single column value for all rows in the worksheet. Thanks Karla for your question!…

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Comparing Lists with Conditional Formatting

By Jeff Lenning | January 17, 2018 |

Comparing lists is a fairly common task in Excel, and as with anything, there are many ways to approach it. When we compare two lists, we are essentially trying to find out which names appear in both lists, or, which names appear in only one list. Tony posted a blog comment about how to perform…

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WORKDAY Function

By Jeff Lenning | October 8, 2015 |

When you need to compute a future date and exclude weekends, you may want to consider exploring the WORKDAY function. In this post, we’ll use the WORKDAY function to prepare a simple project plan and then display it with a Gantt chart. Objective We have a project that we are managing and it has several…

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Icon Sets

By Jeff Lenning | June 30, 2015 |

If you haven’t checked out Excel’s conditional formatting feature recently, you’re missing out on some nice enhancements. The feature formats a cell based on its value. Excel continuously monitors the cell value and updates the formatting as the cell value changes. Conditional formatting has traditionally been limited to basic cell formatting such as fill and…

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Formula override alert by Jeff Lenning

Formula Override Conditional Formatting Alert

By Jeff Lenning | April 23, 2015 |

Let me ask you a question. How do you know when a user has entered a value into a formula cell, essentially overriding your formula? Since this is Excel, there are several ways to address this issue, but starting with Excel 2013, we can use conditional formatting with the new ISFORMULA function. Objective Our worksheet…

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Customize Conditional Formatting Icon Sets

By Jeff Lenning | February 5, 2015 |

The conditional formatting feature of Excel is one of my favorites. In this post, we’ll customize a default rule to create alert icons for our journal entry log that indicate which entries are out of balance. Objective Our objective is to create an alert when a journal entry is out of balance. Since this is Excel, there…

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Heat Maps in Excel

By Jeff Lenning | October 29, 2014 |

In this post, we’ll recreate a heat map presented in Stephen Few’s Information Dashboard Design, 2nd Edition, using an Excel PivotTable and a bit of conditional formatting. Objective Before we get too far, let’s take a look at our objective. We are trying to create a heat map that uses variation in color intensity to…

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Format Locked or Unlocked Cells

By Jeff Lenning | May 7, 2014 |

This post explores options for formatting cells that are locked, or unlocked, in an Excel worksheet. Scenario Let’s pretend we have a worksheet that helps a user compare three different loans. The user is required to enter information, such as interest rate and number of years, into designated input cells, but shouldn’t be allowed to…

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Excel Conditional Formatting Based on Another Cell

By Jeff Lenning | December 12, 2013 |

When you want to format a cell based on the value of a different cell, for example to format a report row based on a single column’s value, you can use the conditional formatting feature to create a formatting formula. This post explores the details of formatting a cell or range based on the value…

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