Converting Conditional Formatting to Regular Formatting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 4, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Parton wonders if there is a way to convert conditional formatting into absolute formatting. He would like to be able to 'fix' the formatting in a worksheet in a way similar to how Paste Values can be used to 'fix' the values of cells.

There is no way to do this in Excel. (It would be especially great if you could do it using a Paste Special option, as Parton notes.) You can, however, use some macros to do the trick. The macros are not trivial, however, as VBA doesn't give you a whole lot of help in dealing with conditional formatting. For a good idea of what is involved, you may want to refer to this page on Chip Pearson's website:

There is another thing you can try, as well, that involves saving your workbook in a different format. Try these general steps:

  1. Load the workbook that contains your conditional formatting.
  2. Save the workbook as an HTML file. (Press F12, specify the HTML format, and give the workbook a different name.)
  3. Restart Excel.
  4. Load into Excel the HTML file you saved in step 2.
  5. Save the workbook as an Excel workbook. (Press F12, specify an Excel workbook format, and give the workbook a different name.)

In the process of saving the Excel workbook in HTML format, the program "strips" all the conditional formatting and makes it explicit (absolute). You should be aware, however, that this process also does the same with your formulas, saving everything as a value, instead. Even so, this may work for your needs if the tradeoff is acceptable.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13721) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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?

2023-07-11 08:28:02

Mike J

The tip mentions that saving to html has the disadvantage of also converting formulas to values.

However if you clear the conditional formatting from the original file, then copy the range (or whole sheet, if necessary) from the .html file and paste back just the formatting over the original .xlsx range, the formulas can be retained.

Incidentally, saving to a .mht (single file web page) works too, and eliminates the creation of a redundant directory.

Still not as slick as the ASAP Utilities route, but it could possibly be made into a vba sub(), even cleaning up after itself.

2023-07-10 17:28:05


OMG, you just saved me a massive amount of work. Great solution. Thank you!

2021-03-10 11:10:09


This was amazingly easy! Thank you so much, you saved me tons of time and what little hair I have left with this solution.

2020-07-02 05:33:32


The way I do it is a bit simpler .
I copy the range and paste it into powerpoint maintaining source formatting. Then I copy the range again from powerpoint to Excel.
This works just fine with minor drawbacks; sometimes font size will change.
It's a workaround, but ti works :)

2020-01-24 04:31:19

Gerhard Seljehammer


ASAP Utilities, which I highly recommend, has solved that (and many other challenges in Excel) with: "Range » Replace conditional formatting with static formatting in selection".

2020-01-06 17:20:49


To carry the second solution a step further, I think it would be possible to do the HTML trick creating a new version of the original file (with a new name), then copy and paste special - formulas from the original worksheet to the new one. You could also paste special - column widths and/or formulas and number formats, and possibly comments. It is a bit of extra work, but would overcome the trade-off mentioned in the tip.

If you need to do this often you could record a macro that does all the work, then modify it to use with different file names (if you are proficient with macros).

2020-01-05 02:33:30

Peter McNab

I do this on a regular basis when extracting sheets from a spreadsheet containing conditional formatting. In my case, I am only interested in the font colour and background colour. Once the extracted sheets are manipulated and the primary workbook is closed, the conditions no longer apply. So before that I run a macro that checks each cell, similar to the following, using the DisplayFormat property. This does take a little while even for a small spreadsheet (my real case does other stuff in the loop), but it may be quicker than the html procedure.
' determine a range of interest
Set rSelect = Range("a1")
Set rSelect = Range(rSelect, rSelect.SpecialCells(xlLastCell))
' check all cells in range
For Each cc In rSelect
With cc
If .FormatConditions.Count > 0 Then
' use conditionally formatted foreground and background colour
.Interior.Color = .DisplayFormat.Interior.Color
.Font.Color = .DisplayFormat.Font.Color
End If
End With
Next cc

2020-01-04 22:15:26

Max Zimmerman

Would it not be simpler to select the page/copy open a new tab and paste formulas? Delete the old tab if no longer needed.

2020-01-04 12:06:44


For those who might be looking for a "i don't need to know how it works, just need to get it done" solution - ASAP Utilities <> has a tool that will do this.

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