Applying Conditional Formatting to Multiple Worksheets

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 2, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


11

Prior to upgrading her version of Excel, Paula was able to select more than one sheet and apply conditional formatting to a group of cells. But when she selects more than one worksheet in Excel now, the conditional formatting option fades. Paula is wondering how she can apply conditional formatting to more than one sheet at a time.

Good question, Paula. It seems that Microsoft did make this change as part of the ribbon-based user interface used in modern versions of Excel. (The ribbon-based interface was introduced with Excel 2007.) Why did they do this? I have no idea, but users are stuck with the results of the change—not being able to apply conditional formatting across multiple worksheets at the same time.

We were able to come up with only two workarounds. The first workaround involves copying the conditional formatting from one worksheet to another. Apply the conditional formatting to the first worksheet, then select all those cells to which you applied the formatting. Next, click the Format Painter (on the Home tab of the ribbon in the Clipboard group), switch to the target worksheet, and select the cells to which the formatting should be applied. That's it.

The second workaround involves running the macro recorder while setting up the conditional formatting on your first worksheet. You can then re-run the macro as you display each of your other worksheets, in turn. The conditional formats are applied to the same cells on the other worksheets.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3433) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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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What is nine minus 3?

2023-02-06 04:16:09

Miranda

thank you. Very helpful and concise.


2022-03-23 05:47:59

Orel

Thank You!


2022-01-29 23:20:44

Cal

Regarding the first workaround.

A note to inform readers the first workaround is really a short cut from having to manually do the conditional formatting. This workaround does not add the cell to the "Applies To:" box. Hence, the "Applies To:" does not show all cells where that conditional formatting is applied to.


2021-10-26 10:22:15

J. Woolley

If you don't want to use the Format Painter, you can Copy > Paste Special > Formatting.


2021-10-25 20:49:33

Peter vA

Awesome tip Allen - thanks bru


2020-02-22 10:48:35

Srinivasan K

It is working fine even after editing the data

Srinivasan k


2020-02-21 16:29:40

James

I think this tip is no longer in effect because when using the format painter it applies the formatting without conditions.


2020-01-07 19:33:26

JeteMc

Thank You for the helpful hint


2019-09-04 08:42:31

Jacqui

Very helpful - thank you


2019-07-23 12:41:13

Kristen Hamid

Just tried it with great results. THANKS for saving me so much time!!


2019-07-23 12:35:31

Kristen Hamid

In your first option of using format painter will this actually create the conditional formatting for future editing on the worksheet?


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