Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Conditionally Formatting an Entire Row.

Conditionally Formatting an Entire Row

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 23, 2015)

Graham described a problem he was having with a worksheet. He wanted to use conditional formatting to highlight all the cells in a row, if the value in column E was greater than a particular value. He was having problems coming up with the proper way to do that.

Suppose for a moment that your data is in cells A3:H50. You can apply the proper conditional formatting by following these steps:

  1. Select cell A3.
  2. With A3 still selected, scroll the worksheet so you can see cell H50.
  3. Hold down the Shift key as you click on H50. The entire range A3:H50 should be selected, and A3 should still be the active cell.
  4. Choose Conditional Format from the Format menu. Excel displays the Conditional Formatting dialog box.
  5. In the left-most drop-down list for Condition 1, select Formula Is. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Conditional Formatting dialog box.

  7. In the formula space just to the right of the drop-down list, enter the following formula:
     =$E3>40000
  1. Click the Format button. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  2. Figure 2. The Format Cells dialog box.

  3. Using the controls in the dialog box, specify how you want the cells that are greater than 40,000 to be displayed.
  4. Click OK to dismiss the Format Cells dialog box.
  5. Click OK to accept your conditional format.

This formula used in the conditional format works because you use the absolute indicator (the dollar sign) just before the column letter. Any reference that has the $ before it is not changed when Excel propagates it throughout a range. In this case, the cell reference will always be to column E, although the row portion of the reference can change.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2798) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Conditionally Formatting an Entire Row.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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