Highlight EVERY Other ROW in Excel (using Conditional Formatting)

Conditional Formatting in Excel can be a great ally in while working with spreadsheets.

A trick as simple as the one to highlight every other row in Excel could immensely increase the readability of your data set.

And it is as EASY as PIE.

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below:Highlight Every Other Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - Select Data

Let’s say you want to highlight every second month (i.e., February, April and so on) in this data set.

This can easily be achieved using conditional formatting.

Highlight Every Other Row in Excel

Here are the steps to highlight every alternate row in Excel:

  1. Select the data set (B4:D15 in this case).Highlight Every Other Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - Seelct Data
  2. Open the Conditional Formatting dialogue box (Home–> Conditional Formatting–> New Rule) [Keyboard Shortcut – Alt + O + D].Highlight Every other Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - New Rule
  3. In the dialogue box, click on “Use a Formula to determine which cells to format” option.Highlight Every other Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - Use a fromula
  4. In Edit the Rule Description section, enter the following formula in the field:
    =MOD(ROW(),2)=1Highlight Every other Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - MOD Formula
  1. Click on the Format button to set the formatting.Highlight Every Nth Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - Set Format
  2. Click OK.Highlight Every other Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - Click OK

That’s it!! You have the alternate rows highlighted.Highlight Every other Row in Excel using Conditional Formatting - highlighted data

How does it Work?

Now let’s take a step back and understand how this thing works.

The entire magic is in the formula =MOD(ROW(),2)=1. [MOD formula returns the remainder when the ROW number is divided by 2].

This evaluates each cell and checks if it meets the criteria. So it first checks B4. Since the ROW function in B4 would return 4, =MOD(4,2) returns 0, which does not meet our specified criteria.

So it moves on to the other cell in next row.

Here Row number of cell B5 is 5 and =MOD(5,1) returns 1, which meets the condition. Hence, it highlights this entire row (since all the cells in this row have the same row number).

You can change the formula according to your requirements. Here are a few examples:

  • Highlight every 2nd row starting from the first row =MOD(ROW(),2)=0
  • Highlight every 3rd Row =MOD(ROW(),3)=1
  • Highlight every 2nd column =MOD(COLUMN(),2)=0

These banded rows are also called zebra lines and are quite helpful in increasing the readability of the data set.

If you plan to print this, make sure you use a light shade to highlight the rows so that it is readable.

Bonus Tip: Another quick way to highlight alternate rows in Excel is to convert the data range into an Excel Table. As a part of the Excl Table formatting, you can easily highlight alternate rows in Excel (all you need is to use the check the Banded Rows option as shown below):

Highlight Altenate Rows in Excel - Banded Rows

You May Also Like the Following Excel Tutorials:

  • saurabh says:

    Sir can you suggest / create any a default function in excel which will highlight row & column for every excel workbook by default without any application.

  • Ahmad says:

    This was really helpful. Thank you for sharing.

  • jim says:

    this is what I used to do it years ago…

    …but then I discovered Tables
    and have never done this again

  • LALIT AHARI says:

    HOW TO HIGHLIGHT THE CELL IF IT HOLD A SPECIFIC CHARACTER

  • LALIT AHARI says:

    HOW TO HIGHLIGHT THE CELL OF Nth CAHARACTER

  • Bruce says:

    Very Helpful. Thank you for sharing and answering all the questions. This really helped me.

  • Cody says:

    How would you highlight every 10th row, starting from 2?

  • Tabitha Simmons says:

    is there a formula for 4 rows highlighted, 4 rows not highlighted, and so on?

  • Claudia says:

    Hi there, how do I highlight/shade/flag every 5th cell along a single row, and only the cells that contain a ‘1’. I have only found formulas highlighting every nth row down a column, and no examples for along a row. Can you help me?

  • Debra Baker says:

    How would I do this to highlight every 24th cell -1 (because I don’t want the header accounted for)

    • Sumit Bansal says:

      Hello Debra.. Do you want to highlight every 23rd row? If yes, you can use this formula =MOD(ROW(),23)=0

  • jeauxkewl says:

    Very helpful, thank you so much!

  • Shragi says:

    Awesome. Thanks!

  • Kojo says:

    how do you highlight every 15th cell in column H for the SUM mathematical function

    • Sumit Bansal says:

      Thanks for commenting.. To highlight every 15th cell in column H, select the entire column and use the following formula in conditional formatting

      =Mod(row($H1),15)=0

      • Kojo says:

        thank you. i forgot to add the range from 712-4430

        • Kojo says:

          when i paste the formula it tell me it is false

          • Sumit Bansal says:

            I guess you are pasting the formula in the worksheet. Instead, you need to paste the formula in the conditional formatting box as shown in the article.

          • kojo says:

            oh ok. thank you. and the range 712-4430

  • Brandy says:

    How do I get this to only highlight cells every fourth row that are great than 1 but less than 99999?

    • Sumit Bansal says:

      Hello Brandy.. Thanks for commenting. To do this select all the cells and use the following formula in conditional formatting

      =AND(MOD(ROW(A1),4)=0,A1>0,A1<9999)

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