Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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: Moving Cell Borders when Sorting.

Moving Cell Borders when Sorting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 3, 2019)

4

Frank has a simple two-column table that contains random dates in the first column and the letters A through E in the second column. He formats the cell containing the letter C so it has a background color and a border around the cell. When Frank sorts the table according to what is in the first column, Excel moves the background color with the C cell, but it doesn't move the border. Frank wonders if there is a way to move both the color and border of a cell when sorting.

The solution is to change how you are doing your formatting. Excel provides two types of formatting that can be applied to cells—regular formatting and conditional formatting. If you apply regular formatting, then what moves when you sort can seem rather arbitrary. If you apply conditional formatting, then all the formatting applied by the condition (or conditions) will move with the cell when you sort.

So the answer to the question is to change how you do your formatting in this instance. Just apply a conditional format that modifies the border of the cell, and then you can sort in peace. (The condition you set could easily be one that is always True, and thus the formatting is always applied.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8883) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Moving Cell Borders when Sorting.

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

Strikethrough Shortcut Key

One common type of formatting is strikethrough, which is normally applied from the Font dialog box. There is no built-in ...

Discover More

Making a Cell's Contents Bold within a Macro

When your macro is processing information in a worksheet, do you need to periodically make the contents of a cell bold? ...

Discover More

Hyphenating a Selection

Word provides a hyphenation tool that can help you hyphenate words within a document. If you want to apply hyphenation to ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Sorting with Graphics

If you use graphics in a worksheet that are associated with certain cells (perhaps images of parts or icons for worksheet ...

Discover More

Sorting IP Addresses

If you keep track of IP addresses in an Excel worksheet, you probably already know that it is difficult to sort those ...

Discover More

Incorrect Links after Sorting Hyperlinks

When you sort your data, you should always check to see if the sort was done correctly. What if sorting messes up ...

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

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 3?

2017-10-03 11:23:01

Gary Lundblad

Unfortunately I do not believe you can add a thick border with conditional formatting, which I think is rather stupid; however; you could use a colored or dotted bordered.

Gary


2016-01-26 14:24:45

Willy Vanhaelen

- After entering the conditions in the "... Formatting Rule" dialog...
- Click the [Format...] button
- The "Format Cells" dialog appears
- Click the "Border" tab and select what you want and click [OK]




2016-01-25 18:14:56

John

Could you give an example on how to apply a conditional format that modifies the border of the cell? (e.g. thick border)


2014-07-16 18:38:36

Phil Reinie

1) How does one "apply a conditional format that modifies the border of the cell"?
and
2) My situation is the border goes with the cells, however where the moved cells were no longer has a border. How can I maintain the border that was there?


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
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.