How to add conditional icon formatting to Excel 2010 and 2013 spreadsheet cells [Guide]

Excel 2010/2013 has plenty of formatting options for spreadsheets. Among them are Excel conditional formatting options with which you can format spreadsheet cells based on their numerical values. You can add icons, based on a condition, to your Excel spreadsheet cells.

Open an Excel spreadsheet, click on the Home tab and Conditional Formatting. That opens a small menu that includes Excel’s various conditional formatting options among which are Icon Sets. Move the mouse over Icon Sets to check out some of the great icons you can add to your spreadsheets.

Excel icons

To add icon sets to the cells, you should select the range of cells that will include them by left-clicking and dragging the mouse over a group of cells. Then click Conditional Formatting > Icon Sets > More Rules to open the window in the shot below. There you can select a set of icons, and lay down the conditions for them to be included within the cells.

excel icons2

To select a specific icon set, you should click the Icon Style drop-down list and choose a set of icons. You can select sets of three, four or five alternative icons for each of the cells. When selected, the icons are included in the drop-down lists below the Icon Style options. Thus, you can select icons from alternative sets by clicking on those lists.

excel icons 3

Once you have chosen your icons, you should lay down the conditions for each of them. To the right of the icons, there are arrow drop-down lists which include > and > = options to select from. The > means more than and = is equals. Thus, you can select the icons to display when their cell value is more than or equal to a specific number.

You should enter the number for the cell value to be more than or equal to for the icons to display in the Value text boxes. For example, if you enter a value of five and select the > option the icon will only be displayed if the number is greater than five. The final icon must always be less than a specific value to show in a spreadsheet cell. Enter that number in the Value text box of the first icon above it.

In the Type drop-down lists, you can choose from four alternative value types. Pick a suitable value type, and click OK to close the window. Now enter some numbers in cells you added the icon set conditional formatting to, and one of those icons should appear on the left of each cell as in the shot below.

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To edit cell icon conditions, select a group of cells, click Conditional Formatting and select Manage Rules. That opens the window in the shot below. There click Edit Rules to open the Editing Rule window which includes the icon conditions you laid down for the selected cells.

excel icons5

Overall, the icon sets certainly add a little flair and color to Excel spreadsheets. Add the conditional icon sets to highlight interesting cell ranges, annotate and classify data into three to five categories.

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