Applying Conditional Formatting to Multiple Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 2, 2018)


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 new ribbon-based user interface used in modern versions of Excel. Why? 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 Office 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 4 - 0?

2018-09-05 13:35:10


Copying the formatting works a charm! I didn't know you could format paint across a whole sheet like that. Thanks!

2018-04-06 03:47:18

Steve Jez

If you create named ranges of the data on each of your sheets (you could use whole column references if your data is subject to change - Range1 = Sheet1!$A:$A), then use the following formula in the conditional formatting dialog box.


Then as described above, copy the formatting to all the other sheets.


2018-04-05 15:47:12


My issue is a little different than the others I've read here. I have a workbook with only 4 worksheets, but each sheet has a LONG column of data & each cell has codes containing both numeric & alpha characters (not sure if that's relevant or not). I want to highlight each cell on each worksheet that is duplicated anywhere else on any of worksheets. Advice?

2016-04-15 03:17:28


when i press F12 in excel 2007, the save as window appear in left top corner of the excel file which hide my heading, is there any way to solve this issue when i press F12, the save as window appear in right bottom of the file?
Please help in this matter.

2016-04-11 19:59:07

Mei Co

This is friggin awesome!

2016-02-29 16:05:34

James Heidt

If you fix the conditional formatting the way you want it on one page, you can then Ctrl-C to copy, then select all of the worksheet tabs that you want to copy it to, and then paste (All) and it will copy the conditional formatting. This works with Data Validation too, which I was also struggling with.

2015-03-31 05:26:30


Thanks for a format painter tip :) very usefull.

2015-02-05 05:39:10

Octavian Mocanu

Unfortunately none of the solutions proposed are workarounds - they are simply solutions to only certain types of conditional formatting options. To explain: the solution doesn't work for a highlight duplicates/unique values across two worksheets. Why I need this is another question and I can answer this one as well: this is the fastest way for cross-checking two lists for new/deleted records, besides the classical countif.

2014-12-31 16:40:22


Thank you for the tip. This worked perfectly!! I agree with Kassandra, never even knew that button existed but it saved me a TON of time. Thank you!

2014-11-05 21:04:49


This just saved me a TON of time!! I hate having to do the conditional formatting on every sheet. Your method worked perfectly. I've never even noticed that button before.

2014-09-26 01:36:46


I need to conditionally format every cell in every sheet in the work book, regardless of cell location, but cant find a simple way.

How do you extend the Conditional Format to every work sheet with the same conditions.

Note that the other formatting on the other sheets is not the same, so I cant simply 'copy & format' using the format tool.

I have extended the CF to every cell on 'sheet 1' using !$1:$1048576, simple enough, but I want to use the same formatting on all 20 sheets without having to re input on every Work Sheet.

The four variable as as per below.

Cell value contains 'OBS: " [Format] ='Sheet1'!$1:$1048576
Cell value contains 'N/C: " [Format] ='Sheet1'!$1:$1048576
Cell value contains 'N/C Mob: " [Format] ='Sheet1'!$1:$1048576
Cell value contains 'N/C Cert: " [Format] ='Sheet1'!$1:$1048576

I have tried to use the following to encompass the entire work book, but it doesn't work.

Cell value contains 'N/C Cert: " [Format]='!$Sheet1:$Sheet20`!$1:$1048576

Any help would be appreciated..

2014-08-14 15:59:02

Marshal Bradley

My workaround...
I had about 40 cells with conditional formatting on each of 30 worksheets. I changed the formatting on the first sheet. I selected all 30 worksheets and copied the cells of interest on the first. Now when I visited each worksheet those corresponding cells are already selected. I then paste-special-formatted them. Unfortunately I had to visit each worksheet, but it still reduced the work by about 40 times.

2013-07-08 11:58:44

Glenn Case

A third option: Format the worksheet, then copy it for use as a template for other sheets.

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