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Declutter your reports by showing icon only



declutter-your-reports-with-show-icon-only-conditional-formattingConditional formatting is one of the most powerful & awesome features of Excel. It is very easy to setup. Naturally, people use it extensively. But the default conditional formatting rules can clutter your reports. Here is one tip that can declutter your reports.

Just show the formatting, not values.

Sample the report aside.

So how to show only icons?

Here is the process:

For icon & data-bar conditional formatting:

See the demo below:

  1. Select the cells with conditional formatting.
  2. Go to Home > Conditional Formatting > Manage Rules
  3. Edit the rule
  4. Check “Show icon only” option.
  5. Click OK and close.

For all other types of conditional formatting (color scales, built-in rules, formula based rules):

  1. Select all the cells with conditional formatting.
  2. Press CTRL+1
  3. Go to “Number” tab, select “Custom” as category
  4. Type ;;; as the formatting code
  5. Click OK and close.

Related: How to make cell contents invisible with custom formatting

Bonus tip: Change the position & size of icon

Once you show icon only, you can adjust the cell alignment / font-size to change the position & size of the icon. Just do it as if you are formatting a regular cell.

More creative and awesome ways to use conditional formatting

Conditional formatting is one of my favorite features in Excel. If you too want to master it, check out below tutorials & usecases:



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Overall I learned a lot and I thought you did a great job of explaining how to do things. This will definitely elevate my reporting in the future.
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2 Responses to “Declutter your reports by showing icon only”

  1. Lisa says:

    I use conditional formatting for a lot of things. I use the flags to help others see where their work needs improvement on. We have a rating system that tells us where our performance is at. Very helpful.

  2. Ramesh says:

    Before using Icon, first we need to make conditional formatting then we can go to manage rules for set the Icons.
    Go to Home > Conditional Formatting > Manage Rules

    But we can use icons when first doing the conditional formatting as below,
    Go to Home > Conditional Formatting > Icon sets

    Thanks Chandoo.

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