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How to conditional format dates less than/greater than today in Excel?

You can conditional format dates based on current date in Excel. For example, you can format dates before today, or format dates greater than today. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the TODAY function in conditional formatting to highlight due dates or future dates in Excel in details.

Conditional format dates before today or dates in the future in Excel


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Conditional format dates before today or dates in the future in Excel


Let’s say you have a list of date as below screenshot shown. For letting the due dates and the future dates outstanding, please do as follows.

1. Select the range A2:A15, then click Conditional Formatting > Manage Rules under Home tab. See screenshot:

2. In the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box, click the New Rule button.

3. In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, you need to:

1). Select Use a formula to determine which cells to format in the Select a Rule Type section;

2). For formatting the dates older than today, please copy and paste the formula =$A2<TODAY() into the Format values where this formula is true box;

For formatting the future dates, please use this formula =$A2>TODAY();

3). Click the Format button. See screenshot:

4. In the Format Cells dialog box, specify the format for the due dates or future dates, and then click the OK button.

5. Then it returns to the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box. And the due dates formatting rule is created. If you want to apply the rule now, please click the Apply button.

6. But if you want to apply the due dates rule and the future dates rule together, please create a new rule with the future date formatting formula by repeating the above steps from 2 to 4.

7. When it returns to the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box again, you can see the two rules are showing in the box, please click the OK button to start formatting.

Then you can see the dates older than today and the date greater than today are successfully formatted.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Jason · 1 years ago
    Does it consider the year?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Jason · 1 years ago
    This does not work for me. Today is 4/12/18. I want it to highlight dates older than today so I copied the formula =$A2<TODAY() and changed the A to an E since it's column E for me. It's highlighting dates of 5/1/21, etc.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Cody · 1 years ago
    This also highlights any cells that do not have a date in them, how can they be ommitted?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Warren · 1 years ago
      I have this question es well, do you receive a response?
      I tried to add in a isblank function into the formula but no luck
      • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
        crystal · 1 years ago
        Dear Cody and Warren,
        Please change the formula to =AND(CELL("FORMAT",A2)="D4",A2 in your conditional formatting rule. Thank you for your comment.
        • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
          FARRAH LARGE · 1 years ago
          This did not work for me. Can you tell me what the variables of this formula are? I have 3 columns I am looking to do this for... do I need to do it separately for each or can I select all the cells in all 3 columns into one formatting? Do I need a cell for TODAY to base the formula off of? Sorry... self taught excel user=asks questions that others might consider simple.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Kim Fabian · 2 years ago
    Thank you for your article. I want to hi light a cell when the date is 60 days in the future. Can you help me write the correct formula to achieve this please.