Using Conditional Formatting in MS Excel

Have you ever had a need to use conditional formatting in a row in your worksheet? Suppose you need to highlight all the values in your row that exceed a certain number.

I had a client call me regarding this issue not too long ago.

Follow the steps below to learn how to accomplish this task:

  1. If your data is contained in cells B11:D30, for instance, select cell B11.
  2. With B11 still selected, scroll so that you can see cell D30. The entire range should now be selected and B11 should still be the active cell.
  3. Be certain the Home tab of your Ribbon is displayed.
  4. Click the conditional Formatting too and Excel will display a series of choices for you.
  5. Click New Rule to display the dialog box.
  6. In the Select a Rule Type area select Use a Formula to Determine Which Cells to Format.
  7. In the formula space enter the formula below:


  1. Click the Format button. Excel will display the Format Cells dialog box.You can now specify how you want the cells that are greater than 25,000 to be displayed.
  2. Click OK to close the dialog box.
  3. Click OK to accept your conditional formatting.

The formula works because you use the absolute indicator (the $ sign) just before the column letter. Any reference that is preceded by the $ sign is not changed when Excel propagates it throughout a range.

Versions 2007, 2010

1 thought on “Using Conditional Formatting in MS Excel”

  1. I can’t get this to work and I can’t understand why the formula starts with =$E3

    Please explain

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