Working with Multiple Conditions

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 11, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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When working with conditional formats, you'll often discover times when you need to apply multiple conditions to a single cell. How you define a single condition is described in other ExcelTips, but Excel allows you to define many conditions that can all apply to the same cell or range of cells.

Begin by selecting the cells for which you want to define conditional formatting rules. Then, with the Home tab of the ribbon displayed, click Conditional Formatting in the Styles group. From the resulting list of options, select Manage Rules. Excel displays the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager.

The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager is nothing but a list of the rules which have been defined for the selected cells. Each rule is shown on a separate line, and you can work with the rules by clicking one of the available buttons:

  • New Rule. Allows you to define a new rule, which is added to the end of the rules list. Defining a new rule uses the same procedures described in other ExcelTips.
  • Edit Rule. Make changes to the selected rule.
  • Delete Rule. Remove the selected rule so it no longer applies to the selected cells.
  • Up Arrow. Move the selected rule up in the list of rules.
  • Down Arrow. Move the selected rule down in the list of rules.

Rules are always evaluated in the order in which they appear in the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager. You can modify the evaluation order by using the up and down arrow tools.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6755) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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 three less than 9?

2023-02-11 13:30:50

Tomek

Also important is understanding how the evaluation order really works, and how "Stop if True" setting interacts with the evaluation order.
While the rules are evaluated from top to bottom, it does not mean that the last rule will fully determine how the cell is formatted. If a particular formatting attribute is applied by one rule, any subsequent rule will not change that attribute. For example, if you have a rule setting the background to yellow for value in the cell >5, and the following rule to set the background to red if cell value >10, the cell background will be yellow whether the value is 6 or 100; this cell will never show red background, contrary to what you may expect. To get what you expect, you need to change the order of the rules, and if in doubt, use "Stop if True": the latter, if the condition for that rule is met, will cause the the formatting to ignore all of the rules below.

In short, not as simple as you may think.


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