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Color the Excel row based on a value/status

Very often, we would like to differenciate the rows that are having certain status (or specific values in a specific column) in a different color.

We can filter for the status and apply the color manually, but we can also do that dynamically or automatically with a specific tweak to the Conditional Formatting feature in Excel

I am referring to Excel 2016 but very well applicable to earlier or later versions of excel.

I hope you are familiar with Conditional formatting. Its in Home Tab 

Steps involved:

  1. Select the Table area to be formatted.  (in this case B3:E11)
  2. Home Tab > Conditional Formatting > Manage Rules
  3. Select "New Rule"
  4. Select "Use a formula to..." (refer snapshot below)
  5. Enter the formula as < =$D3="in progress" > as my status column to be checked was D. please adapt as needed.
  6. Select "Format" to specify the format of matching celles. I selected Blue color in "Fill" Tab. (refer Snapshot). 
  7. click OK on all three windows and apply the formatting.

Key Snapshots:

The before

The after

The Formula

The Fomat Selection

Some Additional Explanation:

Let's have a look at what happened.

two things are importatnt.  
1, the first row of selection and 2, the column specified in the formula.
  • In this case the first row of selection is Row 3 and the column where the status to be checked is column D.
  • Hence the first cell for comparison is D3
  • The $ sign before D (in $D3) is improtant as that makes the column an absolute reference (locked).  Click here if you would like to know more how $ works in a formula.

Excel applies the formula for each cell of the selection.  lets look some random cases..
  • for cell B3, the checked cell is D3
  • for cell C4, the checked cell is D4
  • for cell E4, the checked cell is D5
In short, since we used $D in the formula, the for any row that is checked, its corresponding D columns will be the one that will be compared.


You can repeat the steps if you want another color for another status.
You may also use other formula like >, <, >=, <= with numbers to set format based on numeric values.

I hope you are clear how it works and having the row formatted based on a value is specific column will be easy for you..  

Feel free to leave a comment if you have issues or have any question..  Would be happy to help.


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