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Excel Processing & Formatting

Excel formatting is a really powerful feature when it comes to applying different formats to data that meets certain conditions. It can help you highlight the most important information in your spreadsheets and identify variances of cells' values with a quick glance.

How to create Excel conditional formatting rules:

To truly leverage the capabilities of conditional format in Excel, you have to learn how to create various rule types. This will help you make sense of whatever project you are currently working on.

1. In your Excel spreadsheet, select the cells you want to format.

2. Go to the Home tab Styles group and click Conditional Formatting. You will see a number of different formatting rules, including data bars, color scales and icon sets.

3. Since we need to apply conditional formatting only to the numbers less than 0, we choose Highlight Cells Rules

4. Enter the value in box in the right-hand part of the window under "Format cells that are LESS THAN", in our case we type 0. As soon as you have entered the value, Microsoft Excel will highlight the cells in the selected range that meet your condition.

5. Select the format you want from the drop-down list. You can choose one of the pre-defined formats or click Custom Format... to set up your own formatting.

In the Format Cells window, switch between the Font, Border and Fill tabs to choose the font style, border style and background color, respectively. On the Font and Fill tabs, you will immediately see a preview of your custom format.

In both of the previous examples, we created the formatting rules by entering the numbers. However, in some cases it makes more sense to base your condition format on a certain cell's value. The advantage if this approach is that no matter how that cell's value changes in the future, your conditional formatting will adjust automatically and reflect the data change.