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Working with Conditional Formatting

Last modified: October 08, 2010

Applies to: Excel 2010 | Office 2010 | PowerPoint 2010 | Word 2010

This topic discusses the Open XML SDK 2.0ConditionalFormatting class and how it relates to the Open XML File Format SpreadsheetML schema. For more information about the overall structure of the parts and elements that make up a SpreadsheetML document, see Structure of a SpreadsheetML Document.

Cell based conditional formatting provides structure to data inside a worksheet. Showing colors, in addition to showing a value, helps distinguish the relative height of those values. There are several formatting options you can apply to cells based on their value. You can highlight the top or bottom most items, provide data bars to show a progress bar type user interface, or use color scales to indicate the highs and lows. Conditional formatting is applicable to a cell in a worksheet directly. The value does not have to be part of a table.

All conditional formatting settings are stored at the worksheet level. The worksheet stores one <conditionalFormatting> element for each format applied to a cell or series of cells. The collection of cells on which the format is applied is defined using the sqref attribute. The sqref attribute specifies a cell range using the 'from:to' notation, for example 'A1:A10'.

The following table lists the common Open XML SDK 2.0 classes used when working with the ConditionalFormatting class.

SpreadsheetML Element

Open XML SDK 2.0 Class

cfRule

ConditionalFormattingRule

dataBar

DataBar

colorScale

ColorScale

iconSet

IconSet

The Open XML SDK 2.0ConditionalFormatting class represents the table (<conditionalFormatting>) element defined in the Open XML File Format schema for SpreadsheetML documents. Use the ConditionalFormatting class to manipulate individual <conditionalFormatting> elements in a SpreadsheetML document.

The following information from the ISO/IEC 29500 specification introduces the ConditionalFormatting (<conditionalFormatting>) element.

A Conditional Format is a format, such as cell shading or font color, that a spreadsheet application can automatically apply to cells if a specified condition is true. This collection expresses conditional formatting rules applied to a particular cell or range.

[Example: This example applies a 'top10' rule to the cells C3:C8. The @dxfId references the formatting (defined in the styles part) to be applied to cells that match the criteria.

    <conditionalFormatting sqref="C3:C8">

        <cfRule type="top10" dxfId="1" priority="3" rank="2"/>

    </conditionalFormatting>

end example]

© ISO/IEC29500: 2008.

Conditional Formatting Rule Class

The following information from the ISO/IEC 29500 specification introduces the ConditionalFormattingRule (<cfRule>) element.

This collection represents a description of a conditional formatting rule.

[Example:

This example shows a conditional formatting rule highlighting cells whose values are greater than 0.5. Note that in this case the content of <formula> is a static value, but can also be a formula expression.

    <conditionalFormatting sqref="E3:E9">

        <cfRule type="cellIs" dxfId="0" priority="1" operator="greaterThan">

            <formula>0.5</formula>

        </cfRule>

    </conditionalFormatting>

end example]

Only rules with a type attribute value of expression support formula syntax.

© ISO/IEC29500: 2008.

Each conditional format is allowed to specify various formatting rules. You can apply color scale and data bar formatting at the same time for instance. Each conditional format is represented using a separate <cfRule> element. To specify their user interface display priority you can use the priority attribute. Because a <conditionalFormatting> element can overlap other formatted areas on the worksheet the priority is global for all the conditional formats defined for that worksheet.

The <cfRule> element has many formatting types, such as cellIs and top10, which can be applied. Each type of formatting uses common elements to define its settings. For more information about conditional formatting rule attributes, see the ISO/IEC 29500 specification.

Data Bar Class

The following information from the ISO/IEC 29500 specification introduces the DataBar (<dataBar>) element.

Describes a data bar conditional formatting rule.

[Example:

In this example a data bar conditional format is expressed, which spreads across all cell values in the cell range, and whose color is blue.

    <dataBar>

        <cfvo type="min" val="0"/>

        <cfvo type="max" val="0"/>

        <color rgb="FF638EC6"/>

    </dataBar>

end example]

The length of the data bar for any cell can be calculated as follows:

Data bar length = minLength + (cell value - minimum value in the range) / (maximum value in the range - minimum value in the range) * (maxLength - minLength),

where min and max length are a fixed percentage of the column width (by default, 10% and 90% respectively.)

The minimum difference in length (or increment amount) is 1 pixel.

© ISO/IEC29500: 2008.

Data bars take a single color and display it as a bar. The length of the bar indicates the relative height of the cell value. A data bar uses a separate model inside the conditional formatting rule to define its settings. The <dataBar> element stores all the relevant data. A data bar requires three settings: the minimum and maximum values to compare cell values to, and a color. The first <cfvo> element, or conditional format value object, defines the minimum value, the second <cfvo> elements defines the maximum value. You can use different ways to specify a value, like using a formula or hard-coded value. Another common option is to use the 'min' and 'max' types. These <cfvo> element types specify the minimum and maximum values found in the cell range that have the format applied. This provides a clean stepped gradient between the lowest and highest items. In addition, you can specify the color of the data bar by using the <color> element.

Color Scale Class

The following information from the ISO/IEC 29500 specification introduces the ColorScale (<colorScale>) element.

Describes a gradated color scale in this conditional formatting rule.

[Example:

    <colorScale>

        <cfvo type="min" val="0"/>

        <cfvo type="max" val="0"/>

        <color theme="5"/>

        <color rgb="FFFFEF9C"/>

    </colorScale>

end example]

© ISO/IEC29500: 2008.

Color scales provide a display that indicates the relative value between all cell items, similar to a data bar. A color scale uses a separate model inside the conditional formatting rule to define its settings. You can specify up to three <cfvo>, or conditional format value object, element values: one for the start of the scale, one for the middle of the scale, and one for the end of the scale. The middle value is optional. In addition, you can specify the color of the color scale by using the <color> element.

Icon Set Class

The following information from the ISO/IEC 29500 specification introduces the IconSet (<iconSet>) element.

Describes an icon set conditional formatting rule.

[Example: This example demonstrates the "3Arrows" style of icons. The first icon in the set must be shown if the cell's value is less than the 33rd percentile. The second icon in the set must be shown if the cell's value is less than the 67th percentile, and greater than or equal to the 33rd percentile. The third icon in the set must be shown if the cell's value is greater than or equal to the 67th percentile.

    <iconSet iconSet="3Arrows">

        <cfvo type="percentile" val="0"/>

        <cfvo type="percentile" val="33"/>

        <cfvo type="percentile" val="67"/>

    </iconSet>

end example]

© ISO/IEC29500: 2008.

Using icon sets you can apply different sets of icons to the cells that contain your data. The icon set uses a range of values to identify which set of cells to apply the formatting rule to. The first <cfvo> element identifies the lowest value of the range, the second <cfvo>element identifies the middle point, and the third <cfvo> element identifies the highest value. An icon set identifies which icons to apply to the cells. You can choose from various hard coded icons. For more information about what icons are available, see the ISO/IEC 29500 specification.

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