How to Highlight Entire Row in Excel with Conditional Formatting Tips

If you’ve ever struggled to make data in Excel stand out, highlighting entire rows with conditional formatting could be your savior. This feature allows you to apply specific formatting to rows based on the values in one or more cells. It’s a game-changer for anyone dealing with large sets of data. Here’s how you can do it easily and effectively.

How to Highlight Entire Row in Excel with Conditional Formatting

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use conditional formatting to highlight entire rows based on certain criteria. This will help you quickly identify rows that meet specific conditions, making your data analysis much more efficient.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Workbook

First, open the Excel workbook where you want to apply the conditional formatting.

Make sure you’ve got your data set up correctly. If you’re dealing with multiple sheets, choose the one that holds the information you want to format.

Step 2: Select the Data Range

Next, select the range of data you want to format. This usually includes the columns and rows you’re working with.

It’s best to select the entire range, including any header rows, so your formatting applies uniformly across the dataset.

Step 3: Go to Conditional Formatting

Head over to the "Home" tab and find the "Conditional Formatting" option.

Clicking on it will give you a variety of formatting rules to choose from.

Step 4: Choose New Rule

From the Conditional Formatting dropdown, choose "New Rule" to create a custom formatting rule.

This is where you’ll set the conditions that will trigger the row highlighting.

Step 5: Use a Formula to Determine Which Cells to Format

Select "Use a formula to determine which cells to format" in the New Formatting Rule dialog box.

This option allows you to input a formula that Excel will use to apply the formatting.

Step 6: Enter Your Formula

Type in the formula that will determine which rows to highlight. For instance, if you want to highlight rows where the value in column A is greater than 50, you would enter =A1>50.

Ensure your formula is accurate; otherwise, the wrong rows might get highlighted.

Step 7: Set the Format

Click on the "Format" button to choose the formatting options, such as font color, fill color, and border styles.

Make your selections and click "OK" to finalize the formatting.

Step 8: Apply the Rule

Finally, click "OK" to apply the rule. Your rows should now be highlighted based on your specified conditions.

You can always go back and edit the rule if you need to tweak the formatting or criteria.

Once you’ve completed these steps, the rows that meet your criteria will be highlighted, making them easier to spot.

Tips for Highlighting Entire Row in Excel with Conditional Formatting

  1. Use Clear Criteria: Make sure your criteria are clear and logical to avoid confusion.
  2. Double-Check Formulas: Always recheck your formulas for accuracy.
  3. Utilize Preview: Use the preview feature to see how your formatting will look before finalizing.
  4. Conditional Formatting Manager: Use the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager to edit and manage your rules.
  5. Save Frequently: Regularly save your work to avoid losing any changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use multiple criteria to highlight rows?

Yes, you can use multiple criteria by combining conditions within the formula or creating multiple rules.

Will this work on Excel for Mac?

Yes, the steps are generally the same on Excel for Mac.

Can I highlight rows based on text?

Absolutely, you can use text-based conditions in your formulas to highlight rows.

Does this affect the performance of large datasets?

Conditional formatting can slow down performance with very large datasets, so use it judiciously.

Can I copy and paste the formatting to another sheet?

Yes, you can use the "Format Painter" to apply the same formatting rules to another sheet.


  1. Open your Excel workbook.
  2. Select the data range.
  3. Go to Conditional Formatting.
  4. Choose New Rule.
  5. Use a formula to determine which cells to format.
  6. Enter your formula.
  7. Set the format.
  8. Apply the rule.


Highlighting entire rows in Excel with conditional formatting is a valuable tool for anyone dealing with extensive data. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can quickly and efficiently make your important data stand out. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves organizing information, mastering this feature will revolutionize the way you work with spreadsheets.

For further reading, consider exploring other advanced Excel features, like pivot tables and VLOOKUP functions, to enhance your data analysis skills even more. Happy Excel-ing!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy