Conditionally Highlighting a Milestone Cell

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 10, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Steve has a worksheet that he uses to track his walking steps and distance. He has daily totals and a cumulative column. Using a conditional formatting rule, Steve would like to highlight "milestone" cells—for instance, when the cumulative total reaches or exceeds 100,000 steps. He wonders how to pinpoint that the target has been reached and highlight just the single cell, not all the cells that follow the milestone.

In setting up your conditional formatting rule, you'll need to do so using a formula. First, select all the cells in your cumulative column to which you want the conditional format applied. (In my case, I selected cells in column B, starting with cell B2, which I assume is where the cumulative values are.) Then, create a conditional formatting rule that uses any of the following formulas:


Which should you choose? It doesn't really matter; they all do essentially the same thing—to return True if the threshold is met. The key is to make sure you select the range to which it should be applied and modify the formulas to reflect the selected cell in the range (B2 in all of these).

These formulas will highlight only the first cell after the threshold (100,000). If you want to, instead, highlight the cells after each threshold crossing (100,000, 200,000, 300,000, etc.), then you should use a different formula. Any of the following will work just fine:


Remember to change the formatting in your conditional formatting rule to reflect how you want the appropriate value (the one after the threshold) to be highlighted.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11470) 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 nine minus 5?

2024-02-12 09:50:13

J. Woolley

I'm curious. Excel's documents say FILTER is in Excel 2019 for Windows and MINIFS is in Excel 2019 for Windows or Mac. Please confirm you are using Excel 2019 for Windows and cannot apply those functions.

2024-02-12 02:55:29


"This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021"

This is not correct, because my Excel 2019 do not know FILTER and MINIFS.


2024-02-11 10:18:25

J. Woolley

If you want to apply the rule to all of column B ($B:$B) instead of $B2:$B??, the Tip's first 5 formulas must be modified as follows:
The first 2 formulas using FILTER and MINIFS require Excel 2019 or later.
Curiously the two formulas with OFFSET(B1,-1,0) should produce a #REF! error because there is no cell B0, but Excel's conditional formatting logic seems to ignore that.
Here are the corresponding modifications for the Tip's final 3 formulas:
(Notice there is an error in the Tip's final formula.) Unfortunately, these 3 formulas also highlight blank cells.

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