When looking at a big table of analysis (or data), it would make our life simpler if the selected cell’s column and row are highlighted, so that we can instantly compare and get a sense of things. Like this:
Who doesn’t like a little highlighting. So lets learn how to do highlighting today.
Step 1: Identify the area for highlighting
This is simple, unless you are AUI (analyzing under influence). Lets assume that we are dealing with a range of cells in B4:I14
Step 2: Use 2 cells to capture the selected row & column details
Outside our highlight range, lets set aside 2 cells (E17 & E18 in this case) for keeping the details of which row & column needs to be highlighted.
We can call these cells selRow & selCol.
Step 3: Unleash the VBA magic
- Right click on the sheet name & choose ‘view code’.
- Choose Worksheet & Selection Change from the drop-downs.
- Excel would add a blank
- Write the below lines of code.
[selRow] = Target.Row
[selCol] = Target.Column
- Done. So much simpler than using floo network or transmogrifying muggles.
Step 4: Add conditional formatting to highlight selected cell’s row & column
Now that we know which row & column should be highlighted, it is a simple matter of switching on Excel’s highlighting charm – Conditional Formatting.
Select the entire range (B4:I14) and go to conditional formatting > new rule
Select the rule type as Use a formula… and use a below rules.
=ROW(B4) = selRow
- Apply formatting
- Repeat the steps & this time use the rule
=COLUMN(B4) = selCol
Step 5: Show off.
Incorporate this technique in to your dashboard or weekly report. Watch the socks knocked off your boss’. Bask in the glory. Repeat and enjoy.
Bonus Tip: Use similar technique to enhance user inputs
You can use similar idea to conditionally show messages on your worksheets. See this demo.
I am not telling you how to do this. But I know you are awesome enough to figure this out.
Download Example File
Click here to download example file & understand how to use this technique.
Do you use highlighting techniques in your reports & analysis?
I always use conditional formatting & light-weight VBA to enhance my dashboards and analysis. Especially conditional formatting is almost a magical way to make stunning reports & show off things that are important.
What about you? Do you use these techniques often? what is your experience like? Please share your tips & ideas using comments. I am all ears.
Transmogrify your boring work to awesome – Check out!
- Interactive sales chart using Excel
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- Highlight points in scatter & line charts
- Display alert symbols in dashboards to grab attention
- Highlight top 10 values using conditional formatting
For more potent magic, please consider joining our Online VBA Classes. You are going to leave everyone spellbound.
My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.
Thank you and see you around.
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