To do this, use menu option Format > Conditional Formatting

For example in Excel 2003, set the cell to red if it contains the work ‘Aardvaark’….

  1. Select the cell
  2. Choose Format > Conditional Formatting
  3. Select Cell Value Is : equal to: “Aardvaark”
  4. Click Format then the Patterns Tab and choose Red.

You can see how you can do slightly more useful things than this. You can use this for example to highlight rows in a figures sheet where the total is less than a certain amount, or a date is earlier or later than another date. To do this you need to refer to other cells – you can use Formula Is rather than “Cell Value Is” in the first dropdown, then you enter a formula into the larger text box.

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