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

Quickly Inserting a New Worksheet

Want a quick way to insert a worksheet? There's nothing faster than using the handy shortcut.

Discover More

Deleting All Text in Linked Text Boxes

Word allows you to place text in multiple text boxes and have that text flow from one text box to another. This tip explains ...

Discover More

Removing a Directory

Your macro, in the course of doing some processing, may create a directory that you later need to delete. Here's how to get ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Pointing PivotTables to Different Data

Changing the data source PivotTables go to can be a bit tricky. This tip explains what can happen when you re-point your ...

Discover More

Rows in a PivotTable

PivotTables are used to analyze huge amounts of data. The number of rows used in a PivotTable depends on the type of analysis ...

Discover More

Default Formatting for PivotTables

Wish there was a way to define how you want PivotTables formatted before you actually create the PivotTable? You may be out ...

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 for this tip:

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share