This chapter explores conditional formatting, one of Excel's most versatile features. You can apply conditional formatting to a cell so that the cell looks different, depending on its contents. Microsoft made significant enhancements to conditional formatting in Excel 2007, and it's now a useful tool for visualizing numerical data. You'll find a few more conditional formatting improvements in Excel 2010.
This chapter also introduces sparklines and presents examples that demonstrate how they can be used in your worksheets. A sparkline looks like a small chart within a single cell.
Conditional formatting enables you to apply cell formatting selectively and automatically, based on the contents of the cells. For example, you can set things up so that all negative values in a range have a light-yellow background color. When you enter or change a value in the range, Excel examines the value and checks the conditional formatting rules for the cell. If the value is negative, the background is shaded. If not, no formatting is applied.
Conditional formatting is a useful way to quickly identify ...