Highlight data points with conditional formatting

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Conditional formatting makes it easier for you to notice interesting cells, to see unexpected values, and to visualize data. You apply conditional formatting to data by using color or icons. You can quickly find the highest or lowest results, or identify duplicate values.


  1. Select the data that you want to format.

    Selected data

  2. On the Home tab, under Format, click Conditional Formatting, and then click Color Scales.

    Conditional Formatting menu with submenu

  3. Click one of the color scale icons.

    3-Color Scale using red, green and blue

    In a three-color scale, the top color represents larger values, the middle color represents medium values, and the bottom color represents smaller values. In this table, the cells with the largest values have the strongest red.

  4. Experiment with conditional formatting. On the Home tab, under Format, click Conditional Formatting, and explore the available options.

    Conditional formatting menu


  • Cells can have more than one conditional format applied.

  • You can copy these effects from one location to another. Select the cells that have the formatting that you want, and then, on the Standard toolbar, click Format  Format button , and then click or select the location that you want to apply it to.

  • To clear conditional formatting, select the formatted cells. On the Home tab, under Format, click Conditional Formatting. Point to Clear Rules, and then click Clear Rules from Selected Cells.

See also

Highlight patterns and trends with conditional formatting

Use data bars, color scales, and icon sets to highlight data

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