To apply conditional formatting based on a value in another column, you can create a rule based on a simple formula. In the example shown, the formula used to apply conditional formatting to the range D5:D14 is:


This highlights values in D5:D14 that are greater than C5:C14. Note that both references are mixed in order to lock the column but allow the row to change.

Generic formula



In this example, a conditional formatting rule highlights cells in the range D5:D14 when the value is greater than corresponding values in C5:C14. The formula used to create the rule is:


The rule is applied to the entire range D5:G14. The formula uses the greater than operator (>) to evaluate each cell in D5:D14 against the corresponding cell in C5:C14. When the formula returns TRUE, the rule is triggered and the highlighting is applied.

Conditional formatting rule applied to D5:D14

Mixed references

The mixed references used in this formula ($D5, $C5) make this rule portable. You could use the same formula to highlight cells in B5:B14 instead of D5:D14, or even to highlight entire rows based on the same logic.

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.