Playing with Colours in Excel

I am working on a pretty simple pattern with a bit of a complicated colour change sequence.  Not only is it quite hard to work out when is the best position to change the colours but it is also quite complicated trying to work out how to actually write it down in a pattern that gives the reader at least some chance of understanding it.  

I haven’t solved the – writing it down problem yest but I have worked out a way of playing with the colours using the conditional formatting feature in Microsoft Excel. Here goes:

Choose the cells in the Excel sheet that you are going to be working with.  I tend to highlight more than I’m likely to need as I always go over the borders. Then with your whole set of cells selected click on the Conditional Formatting button in the Home Ribbon.

Home Ribbon showing the Conditional Formatting button

On the menu, choose the option to ‘Create a New Rule’.  

New Rule
Choose the options circled above.

In the dialogue box that opens, choose – ‘format only cells that contain’.  and then at the bottom of the box choose ‘Cell Value’  then ‘Equal to’  then add a number of if you want it to be a bit more discrete, a full stop.  

Then click on Format and at the top of the box, choose the ‘Fill’ tab.  
Choose your colour and press Enter.  

In the cells that you originally highlighted, you can add the Number 1 (in this case) and as you do so each cell will turn red.

I’m using six colours so I’ve added another 5 rules over the top of each other.  This way I have 6 colour options for each cell!  


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