Ensuring Conditional Formatting and Data Validation is Copied

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 29, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Pam has created a table that a LOT of users have access to add data to. She has many columns that she has applied data validation and conditional formatting to. However, when users add rows to the table, the conditional formatting and data validation is not always copied down. Pam wonders how she can ensure that it is.

There are actually two approaches to this, and the approach you choose depends on how you want your data to be treated. Perhaps the easiest approach is to define your data as a table. You can do that in this manner:

  1. Select all your data. (Some people say that you only need to select a cell in the data, but if your data contains blanks it is more reliable to select all the data.)
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Table tool, in the Tables group. Excel displays the Create Table dialog box.
  4. In the dialog box, make sure the settings reflect the nature of your data. (The settings have to do with the table data range and whether your data has headers or not.)
  5. Click OK. Excel converts the data to a formal table.

At this point, anytime you add information in the rows below the table, Excel automatically formats the new data in the same fashion as the data in the rest of the table. This includes the application of conditional formatting and data validation.

The other approach is to format a row beneath your data so that it reflects your conditional formatting and data validation. Then, make sure that new rows are added above this "end row." Toward that end, you may want to make the row hidden or even lock it. Since new rows are being added between rows already formatted (the last data row and the "end row"), then the newly inserted rows acquire all the formatted of the cells around them. The only drawback to this approach (unlike the earlier approach) is that your users cannot just start typing at the end of the data; they have to do the insert and then enter data in the inserted row.

Finally, a third possibility is to create a macro to add new data or to make sure that your formatting is consistent. Exactly how you do this depends on the characteristics of your data.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13455) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing Existing Highlighting

Need to change the color you previously used to highlight text in your document? You can use Word's Find and Replace tool ...

Discover More

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

When your macro checks the formatting used for a cell, it needs to be careful that the type of formatting being checked ...

Discover More

Changing Paper Size for a Complete Workbook

If you need to change the size of paper on which your worksheets will be printed, it can be bothersome to make the change ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Understanding Cell Indenting

Formatting a cell could, if you desire, also include the indentation of information within the cell. This tip examines ...

Discover More

Locking the Background Color

You can spend a lot of time getting the formatting in your worksheets just right. If you want to protect an element of ...

Discover More

Merge and Center Not Available

What are you to do if you are trying to format a worksheet, only to find out that one of the tools you need is not ...

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}] (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 3 + 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.