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New Formatting Rule Dialog

  • 3 minutes to read

The New Formatting Rule dialog allows end-users to create new conditional formatting rules and customize the appearance of cells that meet the given criteria.


This dialog can be invoked by clicking the New Rule… item in the Conditional Formatting drop-down menu. To provide end-users with this menu, add the Styles ribbon page group to the SpreadsheetControl. See the Create a Simple Spreadsheet Application topic for an example on how to provide a ribbon UI for the spreadsheet application.


In the invoked dialog, end-users can select the type of a new conditional rule by clicking the required item in the Select a Rule Type list. The available types of conditional formatting rules are listed in the following table.

Rule Type


API Objects

Format all cells based on their values

Allows end-users to create the rules to format cells using 2- and 3-color scales, icons sets and data bars.





Format all cells that contain…

Allows end-users to create the conditional formatting rules to highlight cells that…

  • meet the criteria represented by a relational operator;
  • contain the given text string or fall within the specified time period;
  • are between or not between two values;
  • contain empty values;
  • contain formula errors.





Format only top or bottom ranked values

Represents the conditional formatting rule that highlights only the top or bottom ranked values in a range of cells.


Format only cells that are above or below average

The conditional formatting rule of this type highlights values that are above or below the average in a range of cells.


Format only unique or duplicate values

Allows end-users to apply the conditional formatting rule to highlight unique or duplicate values.


Use a formula to determine which cells to format

Represents the conditional formatting rule based on the specified formula.


The Edit the Rule Description section of the New Formatting Rule dialog contains various options allowing end-users to specify the rule attributes and format settings to be applied to cells that meet the criteria. Note that options appearing in the Edit the Rule Description section highly depend on the rule type currently selected in the Select a Rule Type list.

To define the format settings for specific rule types, the Format Cells dialog is used. To invoke it, an end-user should click the Format button. After the required formatting options are specified, the resulting cell appearance is displayed in the Preview box.


If a data bar conditional formatting rule is selected, the Negative Value and Axis… button appears in the Edit the Rule Description section. Clicking this button invokes the Negative Value and Axis Settings dialog, which enables end-users to specify the negative bar fill and border colors, and select the axis color and its position within a cell.


To create the conditional formatting rules using the Spreadsheet API, use the corresponding methods of the ConditionalFormattingCollection collection. For more information, refer to the examples in the Conditional Formatting section.