How to Shade a Box in MS Excel Based on the Value of the Contents

Microsoft Excel is a useful spreadsheet tool for experienced users; however, it can be quite nerve-wrecking for beginners. Excel offers so many formatting options, formulas and rules that it tends to overwhelm some people. One of the features of Excel is known as "Conditional Formatting." You can apply a color or shade to documents equal to, greater than, less than or between certain values.


    • 1

      Select the cells you want to apply the formatting to. Click on the group of cells, and drag your mouse to highlight multiples. If you want to apply the formatting to the entire document, click on the downward pointing arrow in the upper-left corner of your document.

    • 2

      Click on "Home" to display the main control panel, and then click on "Conditional Formatting." Choose "Highlight Cells Rules."

    • 3

      Select the shading conditions. You can choose "Greater Than," "Less Than," "Between" or "Equal To." If you want cells over a particular value to be highlighted, select "Greater Than."

    • 4

      Enter your conditional value when the formatting box is displayed. If you want cells with a value over 100 to be shaded, you would enter "100." Use the same concept for "Less Than," "Greater Than," etc.

    • 5

      Choose your shade. The defaults are red, green and yellow; however, you can click "Custom" and choose any color from the palette. Once you've made your selection, click "OK." The conditional formatting will be applied to the entire document, or to the cells you've selected.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use conditional formatting to shade cells based on their value ranking within the document. For example, the "Top 10" or "Bottom 10" values can be shaded. Select "Top/Bottom Rules," instead of "Highlight Cell Rules" to choose this option.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

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