Before there was conditional formatting, there was custom number formatting. You can still add a condition to your custom number formats.


  1. Select the range of cells. Press Ctrl+1 to open the Format Cells dialog.
  2. Select the Number tab. Choose Custom from the bottom of the list.
  3. In the Type box, enter a format such as [Red][>=90];[Blue][>=60]0;0

You can only specify two conditions, so a total of three colors, counting the final ;0 which will show the assigned font color for the cell.

You can only use certain color names… think back to the 3-bit color days: Blue, Black, Yellow, Teal, Red, White. But the little-known secret is you can use any of Excel 2003’s colors with [Color1] through [Color56]. For those of you who never memorized them, here they are: