Automating Excel: How to Make Excel Cells Change Color Automatically Based on Date

  • Home
  • / Automating Excel: How to Make Excel Cells Change Color Automatically Based on Date

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data, and one of its standout features is its ability to automate tasks. One such task is changing the color of cells based on dates, which can significantly enhance data visualization and analysis.

In this article, we will explore multiple hacks to achieve this in a step-by-step process and delve into why automatic cell color changes based on dates are valuable.

Why Change Cell Colors Automatically Based on Date?

Before diving into the hacks, it’s essential to understand the significance of automatically changing cell colors based on dates. This feature can be immensely beneficial in various scenarios:

  1. Visual Data Analysis:

    • Colors make it easy to distinguish and categorize data visually.
    • Highlighting cells based on dates can help identify trends, patterns, and anomalies in a dataset more quickly.
  2. Deadline Tracking:

    • In project management or task tracking, automatic color changes can serve as a visual indicator of approaching deadlines.
    • Cells turning red as a deadline approaches can grab attention and prompt timely action.
  3. Status Monitoring:

    • For tasks with specific completion dates, color changes can signify the status of the task (e.g., not started, in progress, completed).
    • This visual cue aids in quickly assessing the overall progress of a project or task list.
  4. Data Validation:

    • Automating cell colors based on dates can help ensure data accuracy by highlighting invalid or outdated entries.
    • This feature acts as a dynamic data validation tool, drawing attention to potential errors or inconsistencies.

Now, let’s explore multiple hacks to achieve this automatic color-changing effect in Excel:

Hack 1: Conditional Formatting

  1. Select the Range:

    • Highlight the range of cells you want to apply the formatting to.
  2. Go to Conditional Formatting:

    • Navigate to the “Home” tab, click on “Conditional Formatting,” and select “New Rule.”
  3. Choose a Rule Type:

    • Choose “Use a formula to determine which cells to format.”
  4. Enter the Formula:

    • Enter a formula that evaluates the date in each cell. For example, to highlight cells with dates within the next week, you can use a formula like =TODAY()+7>A1.
  5. Set the Format:

    • Click on “Format” to choose the formatting options, including the desired cell color.
  6. Apply the Rule:

    • Click “OK” to apply the rule, and the cell colors will change automatically based on the specified date criteria.

Hack 2: Excel VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)

For more advanced users, Excel VBA provides a powerful way to automate tasks. Here’s a simple VBA script to change cell colors based on dates:

  1. Open the Visual Basic for Applications Editor:

    • Press ALT + F11 to open the VBA editor.
  2. Insert a Module:

    • Right-click on the project explorer and choose “Insert” -> “Module.”
  3. Enter the VBA Code:

    • Copy and paste the following code:

  1. Run the Macro:

    • Close the editor and run the macro using ALT + F8.

These hacks provide versatile ways to automate cell color changes in Excel based on dates, catering to both basic and advanced user preferences. Experiment with these methods to find the one that best suits your needs and technical proficiency.


Automatically changing Excel cell colors based on dates is a valuable feature for efficient data analysis, project management, and error prevention. The provided hacks, whether through conditional formatting or Excel VBA, empower users to customize and enhance their Excel experience.

By incorporating these techniques, users can streamline data interpretation, stay on top of deadlines, and maintain data accuracy with minimal manual effort. Excel’s versatility shines through in its ability to adapt to diverse user needs, making it a powerful ally in data management and analysis.

Write your comment Here