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Negative percentages can be hard to spot as you scan a worksheet. But you can make them easy to find by applying special formatting to negative percentages, or by creating a conditional formatting rule.
Create a custom format
- Select the cell or cells with negative percentages. To select multiple cells, hold down the Ctrl key as you select each cell.
- On the Home tab, click Format > Format Cells.
- In the Format Cells box, in the Category list, click Custom.
- In the Type box, enter the following format: 0.00%;[Red]-0.00%.
Now the negative percentage stands out, formatted in red.
Tip Custom formats are saved with the workbook. The next time you need to apply it, follow steps 2 and 3 above, and you’ll find it in the Type list. To use a custom format in other workbooks, save it as a template called Book1.xltx, or Book1.xltm (if the workbook contains macros), and then base future workbooks on that template..
Create a custom formatting rule
This rule will be available only in the worksheet in which you create it.
- In a worksheet, select the range of cells in which you’ll enter negative percentages.
- On the Home tab, click Conditional Formatting > New Rule.
- In the New Formatting Rule box, select Format only cells that contain.
- In the Edit the Rule Description box, under Format only cells with, select less than.
- In the last box, type 0.
- Click Format.
- In the Format Cells box, select a font or cell color, and then click OK twice.
When you type a negative percentage within the selected range, it will automatically be formatted in red.