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I have an Excel workbook with 10 worksheets. Each sheet has a column named status. Depending on the value of status ("on time", "at risk", "completed"), I want to format the cell background with a different color.

I've written a conditional formatting rule to do this for one sheet. I know there are methods to copy this rule to the other sheets. But ... if I do that, and want to change any formatting, I will need to edit all the rules for 10 worksheets. So instead of a copy per worksheet, I'd like one rule that applies to each column on each sheet.

According to Excel documentation the rule should accept a "cell range", and I've been able to enter disconnected cell ranges from a single worksheet (two columns not side-by-side): $L:$L,$S:$S. However, when I replace $S:$S by a column reference in another worksheet: Marketing!$S:$S, this value is deleted when the conditional rule formatting dialog box closes.

I've also tried doing this by creating a named reference called "All", which contains a list of column references from each worksheete, but this reference is stripped out when I close the conditional formatting rule manager.

So just wondering if there is a way to specify, in the "Applies To" field when creating a rule, a set of columns from different worksheets.

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Would it be simpler to apply a format which would check the header cells as well as the column entries - then it wouldn't matter which column was the status column, e.g. select all columns A to Z and use conditional formatting ("use a formula to determine which cells to format" option) with this formula

=AND(A$1="status",A1="on time")

format as required

If you enter exactly like that you will get formatting for any "on time" entry in the "status" column

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