Apply conditional formatting rules in Google Spreadsheets

Watch How to Apply Conditional Formatting Rules:


Apply conditional formatting rules

By setting text and background colors with rules, you can create styles that offer a visual summary of complex or changing data. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Highlight the cell or range of cells that you want to apply formatting rules to.
  2. From the toolbar, select the background-color palette button (shown below), or right-click the cell or selected range of cells.


    conditional formatting menu

  3. In the palette drop-down menu or the right-click menu, select Change with rules, or Conditional formatting.
  4. In the window that appears, define the conditions for specific text colors and/or cell background colors.

    The rules shown above indicate that cells containing the name "Lasse" will be blue while cells containing a number less than "500" will have a purple background. Please note that if two or more rules apply to one cell, the first rule takes precedence: if a cell contains the name "Lasse" and the number "499," the text will be blue and the background will remain white.

You can choose from multiple rules and select up to five for a given cell or range. To remove a rule, just click the "X" to the right of that rule.


  • When you specify multiple rules, they are evaluated in the order listed. This means that the first rule found to be true will define the format of the cell or range.
  • If you copy and paste from a cell or range that has formatting rules, these rules will be applied when you paste the copied data.
  • If you're importing a spreadsheet, any conditional formatting it contains won't be imported.
Reference: Google Drive Help - Apply conditional formatting rules
YouTube: Google Spreadsheets: Conditional Formatting by Liz Castillo
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