Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Alerts About Approaching Due Dates.

Alerts About Approaching Due Dates

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 29, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


4

Jonathan developed a worksheet that tracks due dates for various departmental documents. He wondered if there was a way for Excel to somehow alert him if the due date for a particular document was approaching.

There are several ways that this can be done in Excel, and you should pick the method that is best for your purposes. The first method is to simply add a column to your worksheet that will be used for the alert. Assuming your due date is in column F, you could place the following type of formula in column G:

=IF(F3<(TODAY()+7),"<<<","")

The formula checks to see if the date in cell F3 is earlier than a week from today. If so, then the formula displays "<<<" in the cell. The effect of this formula is to alert you to any date that is either past or within the next week.

Another approach is to use the conditional formatting capabilities of Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells that contain the document due dates.
  2. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the Conditional Formatting option in the Styles group. On the resulting submenu, click Manage Rules. Excel displays the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box.

  5. Click the New Rule button. Excel displays the New Formatting Rule dialog box.
  6. In the Select a Rule Type list, choose Format Only Cells That Contain. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The New Formatting Rule dialog box.

  8. Make sure the first drop-down list in the Edit the Rule Description area is "Cell Value." (This should be the default.)
  9. Make sure the second drop-down list is "Less Than."
  10. In the formula area, enter "=TODAY()" (without the quote marks).
  11. Click the Format button. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  12. Using the Color drop-down list, choose the color red.
  13. Click OK to close the Format Cells dialog box.
  14. Click OK. The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box reappears with your newly defined condition in it.
  15. Click the New Rule button. Excel displays the New Formatting Rule dialog box.
  16. In the Select a Rule Type List, choose Format Only Cells That Contain.
  17. Make sure the first drop-down list in the Edit the Rule Description area is "Cell Value." (This should be the default.)
  18. Make sure the second drop-down list is "Less Than."
  19. In the formula area, enter "=TODAY()+7" (without the quote marks).
  20. Click the Format button. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box.
  21. Using the Color drop-down list, choose the color blue.
  22. Click OK to close the Format Cells dialog box.
  23. Click OK. The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box reappears with your newly defined condition in it. (The newly defined condition should actually be selected in the list of conditions.)
  24. Click the Move Down arrow. This moves the last condition you defined (steps 13 through 21) so it is in the proper order.
  25. Click OK to close the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

This is a two-tiered format, and you end up with two levels of alert. If the due date is already past, then it shows up as red. If the due date is today or within the next seven days, then it shows up in blue.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9327) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Alerts About Approaching Due Dates.

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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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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 one more than 7?

2022-11-16 11:05:40

J. Woolley

@RB
The following three functions are included in My Excel Toolbox:
=SetFont(Name,Size,Style,Color,Underline,Strikethrough,Target)
=SetFill(Color,PatternStyle,PatternColor,Target)
=SetStyle(Name,Target)
When these functions appear in a cell formula, they will set the Target range's font, fill, or style properties. For each function, all property parameters are optional and unchanged if omitted. Target is also optional; default is the formula's cell.
These functions can be used with an IF(...) function to set or reset properties. Each function returns an empty string ("") in a text formula, zero (0) in a numeric formula, or FALSE in a boolean formula.
Here is a formula using LET (Excel 365 or 2021+) to return a Nov 16 birthday with yellow fill on Nov 16 or blank on any other day:
=LET(tday,TODAY(),bday,DATE(YEAR(tday),11,16),IF(bday=tday,SetFill("yellow")+bday,SetFill("none")&""))
If you can't use LET, define bday as a named range (see Figure 1 below) and use this formula:
=IF(bday=TODAY(),SetFill("yellow")+bday,SetFill("none")&"")
See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/

Figure 1. 


2022-11-16 04:22:23

Peter Atherton

RB

Use Conditional Formatting, with fthis ormula

=DATE(YEAR(TODAY()),MONTH(B11),DAY(B11))=TODAY()
and apply your formatting


2022-11-15 06:18:55

RB

Hi

I want to high light a cell containing a date of birth only on that date. How do I go about doing this.
I want the cell to be highlighted and the text in it to be visible only on that day, the rest of the time it needs to be hidden

Any assistance will be appreciated greatly


2020-10-30 18:40:59

sara

How do I keep blank cells from turning red? I don't want the cell red or yellow unless there is a date entered.


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