With conditional formatting, you can highlight data on your spreadsheet automatically. If you have a sheet where you need the dates easier to spot, you can use conditional formatting in Google Sheets based on date.

You might have a spreadsheet containing due dates for bills or deadlines for project tasks. You can make dates like those past due or coming up soon pop and easy to see. Whether a column, row, or cell, you simply set up the conditional formatting rule, and when the data matches, you’ll see the highlight you choose apply.

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Set Up a Conditional Formatting Rule for a Date

Head to Google Sheets, sign in, and open the spreadsheet you want to use. Select the cells that you want to highlight with conditional formatting. This can be an entire column or row, or a cell or cell range.

Click Format > Conditional Formatting from the menu. This displays the sidebar for you to set up the rule.

Select Format, Conditional Formatting

Be sure you’re on the Single Color tab at the top and then confirm the cell selection in the Apply To Range field.

Confirm the data range

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Click the “Format Cells If” drop-down box and choose “Date Is,” “Date Is Before,” or “Date Is After” per your preference. The option you select will determine what appears in the selection below it.

You can then choose from options like today, tomorrow, or yesterday. Or you can pick a larger date range like in the last week, month, or year. You can also use an exact date if you like.

Choose the rules for the date

You’ll then see a default formatting style display at the bottom. But you can, of course, customize the formatting to fit your needs. You can use bold, italic, or underline, and you can apply a color to the font. You can also pick a fill color for the cell(s). If you want to apply more than one style, you can do this as well.

Choose the format for the cells

When you finish, click “Done.”

Conditional formatting applied in Google Sheets

Edit, Delete, or Add Another Rule in Google Sheets

You can edit or delete an existing conditional formatting rule or set up another. Reopen the sidebar by clicking Format > Conditional Formatting.

  • To edit a rule, simply select it, make your changes, and click “Done.”
  • To delete a rule, click the trash can icon on the right.
  • To set up another formatting rule in the same sheet or for the same set of cells, select “Add Another Rule” and follow the process above.

Edit, delete, or add another rule

Highlighting important dates automatically is an excellent use for conditional formatting. For another, look at how you can apply a color scale based on values in Google Sheets.

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With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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