How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Improve the Conditional Formatting Manager

So that we can easily manage conditional formatting. While we're at it, the way conditional formatting is treated when cutting / copying and pasting etc could be reconsidered.

[Following examples added by Dan [MS] for clarity on 10/20/2015]
* name rules
* add a comment to rules
* more easily see what rules apply to what range
* see which rules can be consolidated b/c they are similar
* etc.

127 votes
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    Levi Bailey shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    under review  ·  AdminExcel Team [MSFT] (Admin, responded  · 

    Thanks for the suggestion Levi! We’ll be taking a look at this along with some other asks around conditional formatting. It’s a big help to see the things with the most votes, particularly within areas like formatting. So please keep the votes coming for things you want us to do sooner!

    John [MS XL]


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      • Ewald commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I agree to all of those imrovement ideas regarding Conditional formatting
        (as I have sheets with >100 CFs).
        Additionally - oras a first step - It might make sense to have export and import function for conditional formatting for a worksheet.

      • Jon Wittwer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Long formulas are very difficult to edit within the Rules Manager. So, either allow the formula field to be enlarged, or change the behavior of the left and right arrow keys, so that when you press left or right it scrolls the field rather than inserting a +Ref into the formula.

      • Jon Wittwer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        A "Duplicate Rule" button would be a VERY useful new feature for the Rules Manager. I've wasted quite a bit of my life on the the task of duplicating rules the hard way (going to Edit Rule to copy the formula, then creating a new rule, pasting the formula, then editing the format, editing the Applies to, and then re-editing the formula after realizing that all references changed because I didn't have the correct cell selected).

      • Excel Help commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        All of the above comments, I second. In addition, I've noticed a weird bug where the "Applies to" field turns blank for some rules as I'm scrolling through many rules. Change or delete a rule, and it comes back. But randomly that field is missing the cell references.

        Btw MSFT, considering this "under review" for two years isn't very comforting. Can we get an update? Your power users are begging for long overdue changes to CF.

      • Jon Wittwer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'd like to see a "Consolidate Rules" button included in the Rules Manager that would automatically consolidate all identical rules.

        That may be too difficult to implement if it isn't easy to determine whether rules are identical or not. So, I've added the following as a separate suggestion (Make "Paste and Merge Conditional Formatting" the default Paste behavior) for helping prevent the problem of having dozens or hundreds of split/fractured/duplicate rules.

      • an commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "While we're at it, the way conditional formatting is treated when cutting / copying and pasting etc could be reconsidered."

        This is major stuff for me - neatly formatted tables created for easing user input of data get its conditional formatting messed up after a short time. The interface is very clumsy for the complexity of what it does, but for the most part, it's bad that it gets so easily messed up.

        One possible action would be to make certain conditional formatting LOCKED from copy/pasting. That alone would likely to prevent a major chunk of the current issues.

      • Peter commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Are you able to change the size of the Conditional formatting manager box.
        when working with a lot of formatting it would be a lot easier to view if you can enlarge the viewing box


      • Jon Wittwer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Like Roland, the biggest issue I have with conditional formatting is that a lot of unnecessary separate rules are created when copying/pasting. For example, inserting a row and then copying formulas/formatting down is okay, but copying the row and inserting the copied row creates a redundant set of rules and splits the ranges in the original rule sets. This shouldn't happen, and it really needs to be fixed.

        Another Issue: If you have a Table with a conditional formatting rule that depends on a different column, trying to move that column via cut/insert can crash Excel.

      • Roland commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thanks for the suggestion Levi. :)
        Conditional formatting is great, but it "fractures" when the sheet is edited, creating lots of separate rules. Cleaning it up is a pain, but if we could just resize the "Conditional Formatting Rules Manager" window - even maximising it onto a second screen - it would be so much easier to deal with the mess of dozens of rules fracturing into hundreds of rules!

        Just remove the Window size = Fixed border setting!!!!!

      • miko commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        this would be great. i would also add the ability to search for, or the automatic highlighting of all external references in conditional formatting, as they are otherwise hard to find & manage, especially when after some editting, a very few conditional formatting rules quickly become huge list of the same rules applied to different ranges...

      • Cameron commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Addition functionality
        - Resize the pop-p window,
        - select multiple for deletion
        - Not require to press F2 when editing/entering formulas to stop random ranges coming up.
        - Copy an existing rule
        - Enable alignment as part of the format options
        - Honour alignment settings before conditional formatting is applied when a cell is included in multiple CF's ranges

        Using Excel 2016 through a 365 subscription at work and the conditional formatting rules do not stack up as in previous versions. Where possible I use ALT + CTRL + V, paste special when in conditionally formatted regions.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I don't know how many times I've mangled up my sheets due to the archaic and the inabilityt o customize the CF Manager. No ability to change the default paste method (the extra work through of selecting the merge conditional formatting is a chore, as well as easily forgotten, over the hundreds of cut and pastes done regularly.) The inability to resize the window? How difficult is that to add? Seeing 5 rules at a time is also archaic. Please listen to these votes, these changes would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Like R Rutte said, let me resize the manager window and change the column widths within please, this has been bugging me for so long now. Also, something that would be really handy for me is a rule type that says: Make this cell the same colour as REFERENCE (where REFERENCE would be $A1, $A$1 etc).

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I find that Excel 2016 freezes just when I'm using it for my checking account reconciliation. It's so frustrating to be waiting for the statement to download from the bank only to have it freeze and you have to start all over again. It freezes if I'm pasting from another page in the workbook. I've taken to saving after every transaction I record but that can sometimes take forever if the program decides it wants to play it that way. I'm considering finding a different program to use and I've used Excel for years.

      • Kenneth Barber commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have another one to add. If you apply conditional formatting to all cells, it will show the notation 1:1048576, which is all rows. I feel like "all cells" should have its own notation so then it still applies to all cells even if you delete a row.

      • R. Rutte commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        These improvement would be really helpful.
        To add: Allow resizing of the conditional formatting window to see more rules. (reduce the scrolling effort)

      • AliGW commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Improve the Find & Replace dialog to allow changes within conditional formatting rules, either over a defined range or a whole worksheet. Editing conditional formatting is, at best, tedious.

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