Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Shading Rows with Conditional Formatting.

Shading Rows with Conditional Formatting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 8, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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If you haven't tried out the conditional formatting features of Excel before, they can be quite handy. One way to use this feature is to cause Excel to shade every other row in your data. This is great when your data uses a lot of columns and you want to make it a bit easier to read on printouts. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the data whose alternating rows you want to shade.
  2. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the Conditional Formatting tool. Excel displays a series of choices.
  4. Click New Rule. Excel displays the New Formatting Rule dialog box.
  5. In the Select a Rule Type area at the top of the dialog box, choose Use a Formula to Determine Which Cells to Format. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The New Formatting Rule dialog box.

  7. In the formula space, enter the following formula:
  8. =MOD(ROW(),2)=0
    
  9. Click on the Format button. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  10. Make sure the Fill tab is selected. (See Figure 2.)
  11. Figure 2. The Fill tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  12. Select the color you want used for the row shading.
  13. Click on OK to close the Format Cells dialog box.
  14. Click on OK to close the New Formatting Rule dialog box.

You may wonder why anyone would use conditional formatting to highlight different rows of a table when you can use the table formatting feature (available in the Styles group of the Home tab of the ribbon) to accomplish the same thing. The reason is simple—using conditional formatting provides much more flexibility in the formatting applied as well as in the interval of the rows being shaded.

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ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7363) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Shading Rows with Conditional Formatting.

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?

2023-07-11 03:56:45

Enno

OK. I thought, that "shading" is a sort of darker line around the cells.
Yes, I am old enough to remember these papers.


2023-07-10 06:09:00

Steve Jez

Enno,
IMO there is no real difference, shading is generally used to identify rows that are coloured to assist "reading" data, where the data extends across a number of columns. Generally a lighter colour is used in these situations so as not to be too distracting.
If you're old enough, think of the green & white fan fold printer paper of the 80's used in the dot matrix printers.


2023-07-10 02:31:19

Enno

Can you tell me, what the difference is between "to fill" and "to shade".?
I used the description here and got cells, that are completely filled with the used color. Where ist the "shade"?

EPG


2023-07-08 05:01:31

Steve Jez

If you just need to shade alternate rows then you could use
=ISEVEN(ROW()) or =ISODD(ROW())
you can then use whichever suits your first shaded row.


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