Conditional Formatting in PivotTables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 31, 2013)

David is wondering if it is possible to apply conditional formatting to PivotTables. He would like to use conditional formatting so that when a table is refreshed the conditional formatting is applied to the new data in the PivotTable.

There is nothing that we have found that stops conditional formatting from being applied to a PivotTable. After creating the PivotTable you can apply the conditional formatting and it should work just fine. The problem, however, comes when you refresh the PivotTable and the refreshing results in the PivotTable being enlarged. In that case Excel expands the PivotTable into cells not previously used by the table. These cells also have no conditional formatting applied, so Excel doesn't know that it should apply it.

You can get around this problem by making sure that you apply conditional formatting to more than just the cells presently visible in the PivotTable. You should select a larger range of cells (including those outside the current PivotTable) and apply conditional formatting to that expanded range. In this way Excel can "retain" that formatting as it expands the PivotTable during a refresh.

The obvious problem with this approach, however, is that the flexibility of the conditional formatting is seriously hampered. If you have several conditional formats applied to the PivotTable, and those formats are not the same as each other, then how can you effectively apply those formats to an expanded cell range? Unfortunately there is no good answer to this possibility.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7002) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting Spell-Checking Options

Like many things in Word, you can configure the way the spelling checker does its job. If you want to exercise more control ...

Discover More

Formatting Footnote and Endnote References

Depending on whom you are writing for, you may want your footnote and endnote references to appear a specific way. Word ...

Discover More

Random Numbers in a Range

Excel provides several different functions that you can use to generate random numbers. One of the most useful is the ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Removing Subtotals from Many PivotTable Fields

Need to get rid of pesky subtotals from your PivotTables? It's easy to do by applying the macro highlighted in this tip.

Discover More

Missing PivotTable Data

Wonder what happened to the data behind a PivotTable? It could be in a number of places, and tracking it down could be a ...

Discover More

Too Many Rows or Columns in a PivotTable

PivotTables are often used to aggregate lots of information, and they do it beautifully. What do you do if Excel starts ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.