Top 6 Examples of using Formulas in Conditional Formatting in Excel

The best part of conditional formatting is you can use formulas in it.

It has a very simple sense to work with formulas. Your formula should be a logical formula and result should be in TRUE or FALSE.

If that formula returns TRUE, conditional formatting will apply and if it returns FALSE, conditional formatting will not apply.

The point is, by using formulas you can make best out of conditional formatting.

In the below example, we have used a formula in CF to check whether the value in the cell is smaller than 1000 or not.

use formulas in conditional formatting to check if value is greater

And, if that value is smaller then it will apply the formatting which we have specified, otherwise not.

So today in this post, I’d like to share with you simple steps to apply conditional formatting using a formula and some of the useful examples which you can use in your daily work.

So let’s get started.

Steps to Apply CF with Formulas

These steps are quite simple you just need to enter a formula and specify a format to apply if that formula returns TRUE in the result.

Below are the steps to open the CF dialog box and enter a formula into it.

how to apply conditional formatting using a formula

Important: While entering a formula in CF dialog box you can’t see its result whether that formula is valid or not. So the best practice is to check that formula before using in CF by entering it in a cell.

Examples to Apply CF with Formulas

Here we have some examples which can be useful for you to use in your daily work and will help you to get better in conditional formatting.

#1. Use a Formula which is Based on Another Cell

Yes, you can apply conditional formatting based on another cell.

If you look at the below example, we have added a simple formula which is based on another cell.

And, if the value of that linked cell will meet the condition specified, conditional formatting will apply.

apply conditional formatting with a formula using another cell

When achievement will below 75%, it will highlight by the red color.

apply conditional formatting with a formula using another cell with percentage 75

#2. Conditional Formatting using IF

Whenever I think about conditions, the first thing comes to your mind is using IF function.

And the best part of this functions is, it fits perfectly in conditional formatting. Let me show you an example:

using formulas to apply conditional formatting with if

Here, we have used the IF to create a condition and the condition is when the count of “Done” in range B3:B9 is equal to the count of tasks in the range A3:A9, then the final status will appear.

this formula in conditional formatting will format cell when all the tasks are done

#3. Conditional Formatting by using Multiple Conditions

You can create multiple checks in condition to apply formatting.

Once all the conditions or one of the conditions will meet, conditional formatting will apply to the cell.

Look at the below example where we have used the average temperature of my town. And, we have used a simply combined IF-AND to highlight the months where the temperature is pretty pleasant.

Months, where the temperature is within 15 Celsius to 35 Celsius, will get colored.

use if and formula in conditional formatting to highlight cell with temperatures

#4. Highlight Alternate Rows with Conditional Formatting

To highlight every alternate row you can use following formula n CF.


By using this formula, every row whose number is odd will be highlighted. And, if you want to do vice versa you can use the following formula.


table with highlighted alternate rows using formula in conditional formatting

The same kind of formula you can use for columns (odd and even) as well.


And for even columns.


use conditional formatting highlight column alternate

#5. Highlight Cells with Error using CF

highlight errors from cells using conditional formatting

#6. Create a Checklist with Conditional Formatting

checklist using conditional formatting and checkbox
a dynamic checklist using formulas in conditional formatting

Points to Remember

  1. Your formula should be a logical formula, which leads to a result as TRUE or FALSE.
  2. Try not to overload your data with conditional formatting.
  3. Always use relative and absolute references in a proper sense.

Sample File


Conditional formatting is an awesome tool and by using a formula in it you can make best out of it.

I’m pretty sure that above-mentioned examples will inspire you to use it more frequently in your work.

Now, tell me one thing.

Have you ever used CF in your work?

Share your views with me in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you. And, please don’t forget to share this tip with your friends.