How to use conditional formatting to shade every other row in Excel


It is often easier to read lists of data if alternate rows are shaded. This article shows you how to use conditional formatting to shade alternate rows.

Note Conditional formatting is automatically copied to newly added rows. You can also shade alternate rows by using a Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro. However, if you use the VBA macro, you must run the macro again every time that new rows of data are added. For more information about how to use a macro to shade every other row in Excel, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

213616 Macro to shade every other row in a selection in Excel

More Information

Conditional formatting is a Microsoft Excel feature that sets a cell's format according to conditions that you specify. Conditional formatting allows you to present numeric data in different colors; for example, you can shade data depending on whether the value is greater, equal to, or less than zero. You can also present list data against a background pattern of alternating shades, as in the following example.

To apply alternating shades to the rows of your worksheet, follow these steps:

  1. Start Excel, and then open new worksheet.
  2. Type the following data in cells A1:D4

    Bob Smith Active 555-1111
    Sue Jones Retired 555-2222
    Alf Wilson Retired 555-3333
    Mary Morley Retired 555-4444
  3. Select the range A1:G6.
  4. On the Format menu, click Conditional Formatting.
  5. Under Condition 1, select Formula Is.
  6. In the data entry box, type =MOD(ROW(),2)=1.
  7. Click the Format button. In the Format Cells dialog box, click the Patterns tab.
  8. Select a light-blue color, and then click OK.
  9. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click OK.
Notice that if you add more data to the list, the conditional formatting is extended to rows beyond row 6. If you want to remove the formatting from unused cells, such as in columns E through G, you can select those cells, and then delete the conditions in the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

Note If formatting is not consistently applied after data is entered, use a formula that checks for blanks first. With this approach, however, the formatting does not appear until you enter values. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. In Cell A1, type the following conditional formatting formula: =AND(MOD(ROW(),2)=0,A1<>"").
  2. Copy this cell to the other cells in your range to be shaded.

Excel 2007 & Excel 2010 (see also KB919194)

1. Complete Steps 1, 2 & 3 above.
2. Home ribbon > Styles group > Conditional Formatting > New Rule
3. Under 'Select a Rule Type' choose: Use a formula to determine which cells to format
4. Under 'Edit the Rule Description' type =MOD(ROW(),2)=1 in the 'Format values where this formula is true'
5. Click the Format button and select your choices > OK

Excel 2007 & Excel 2010 Note:
If you only want the formatting, you can also change your data to a table and use built in formatting.
 1. Complete steps 1 & 2 above.
 2. Click your cursor with your range of data or select the data
 3.  Home ribbon > Styles group > Format as Table > choose the format you'd like applied to the selection
* This process will change your data to a table with filters. If you do not like this, you may "Convert to Range" in the Table Tools > Design > Tools to return the data back to original state and use the conditional formatting option above.


For more information about conditional formatting, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type change, add, or remove conditional formats in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.

For more information about the MOD worksheet function, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type mod in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.

Article ID: 268568 - Last Review: Jan 7, 2017 - Revision: 1

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