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

Adding AutoShapes

The graphics features of Excel allow you to add a number of predefined AutoShapes to a workbook. If you want to add ...

Discover More

Formatting the Border of a Legend

When you create a chart, Excel often includes a legend with the chart. You can format several attributes of the legend's ...

Discover More

Replacing the Space between the Last Two Words of Each Paragraph

Some replacement tasks can seem daunting, but Word provides some great tools for making just about any replacement you ...

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)

Forcing Excel to Sort Cells as Text

If you have a mixture of numbers and text in a column and you want to sort based upon that column, the results may not be ...

Discover More

Sorting Data on Protected Worksheets

Protect a worksheet and you limit exactly what can be done with the data in the worksheet. One of the things that could ...

Discover More

Sorting Dates by Month

Sorting by dates is easy, and you end up with a list that is in chronological order. However, things become a bit more ...

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 four more than 7?

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.