Next Level Conditional Formatting in Excel

Here’s the story of how my hate for email spurred me on to create one of the best spreadsheets I’ve ever made (spreadsheet linked below). The other day I was visiting with a friend, Kyle Reinhiller, about my email problem as I had a backlog of over 1,000 emails in my inbox. I just dreaded even opening up Outlook. There would be days in which I completely avoided opening up Outlook for that very reason. But Kyle knows my love for spreadsheets so he suggested I use a spreadsheet to overcome my email issue. I knew the spreadsheet would have to track how many emails were in my inbox. A list of numbers wasn’t going to be motivating enough…even with a time stamp. What if it automatically created a graph whenever I updated it? That would be better. What if the spreadsheet also had a colorful way of tracking my level of anxiety as well? That’s the spreadsheet I created. I put a link to it below.

Why is conditional formatting so powerful? I’ve used conditional formatting for years. These are the benefits I get from it:

  • Data is Easier to Explore: For numbers people, they might be able to scan a report and see the significant numbers. For others, this can be a challenge. Conditional formatting will visually set these numbers apart. This also help numbers people to not miss anything as well or at least review the report quicker.
  • Consistent Reporting: In the past, I used to manually go through and highlight numbers I thought folks should pay attention to. This is fine for some reports, but, if it’s a list of worship trends for 200+ churches, it’s easy to miss some. If you setup your conditional formatting well, Excel will do the hard work for you without missing any.
  • It’s kind of Fun: At least it is for me. It was something new to learn that made a big improvement in the look of some spreadsheets I was using. If you like Excel, you’ll probably find conditional formatting fun as well.

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