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How to compare adjacent cells with Conditional Formatting icon sets in Excel?

Author: Xiaoyang Last Modified: 2020-12-25

When you compare two columns of data, you want to use the conditional formatting icon sets giving a visual representation of the comparison. For example, if the data in column B is greater than column A, an up arrow icon would show; if column B is less than column A, a down arrow icon would appear; or if column B and A are equal, a right arrow icon would be displayed as following screenshot shown. This article, will talk about how to solve this task in Excel quickly and easily.

Compare adjacent column cells with Conditional Formatting icon set in Excel

Compare adjacent rows cells with Conditional Formatting icon set in Excel


Compare adjacent column cells with Conditional Formatting icon set in Excel

If you have two columns data, to compare the adjacent cells by using the conditional formatting icon sets, please do as this:

1. Enter this formula: =IF(A2>B2, 0, IF(A2<B2, 2,1)) into a blank cell beside your data, and drag the fill handle down to the cells which you want to fill the formula, see screenshot:

2. Then select the formula cells, and click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule, see screenshot:

3. In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, do the following operations:

(1.) Click Format all cells based on their values option in the Select a Rule Type list box;

(2.) In the Format Style drop-down list, choose Icon Sets, and then select 3 Arrows icon from the Icon Style;

(3.) Check Show Icon Only option;

(4.) Change the values and type, please change the Type to Number separately, and in the first line, change the Value to 2, in the second line, change the Value to 1.

4. After finishing the settings in the dialog box, and click OK button, you will get the result as you want, see screenshot:


Compare adjacent rows cells with Conditional Formatting icon set in Excel

If you have a list of numbers, to compare them row by row, maybe the following steps can help you.

1. Enter this formula: =SIGN($A3-$A2) into adjacent cell B3, and then drag the fill handle down to the cells you want to use, see screenshot:

2. Keep selecting the formula cells, and then go to the New Formatting Type dialog box, do the following operations:

(1.) Click Format all cells based on their values option in the Select a Rule Type list box;

(2.) In the Format Style drop-down list, choose Icon Sets, and then select 3 Arrows icon from the Icon Style;

(3.) Check Show Icon Only option;

(4.) Change the values and type, please change the Type to Number separately, and in the first line, select > sign from the drop-down, and change the Value to 0, in the second line, change the Value to 0 as well.

3. Then click OK button, and the relative icon set has been inserted into the cells as you need, see screenshot:

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