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I use Excel sheets to track the status of tasks through a set of discrete statuses. I'd like to be able to format these automatically, with the start being red, the end being green and progressing through the combination colors in the middle.

  • Status1 (Red)
  • Status2 (More Red than Green)
  • Status3 (More Green than Red)
  • Status4 (Green)

The "Color Scales" option under Conditional Formatting seems like it could be made to work, but it wants numbers. So, my question, can it be done? Using conditional formatting or other formulas to achieve the desired affect?

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If you want to use conditional formatting data bars, you can't use relative references in the formula, so no. It is possible through other means though. – Raystafarian Nov 1 '13 at 0:00

Use the numbers 1 to 4 in the cells instead of text. Then you can apply the color scales conditional formatting.

You can use a custom format on the number that formats them to show the word "Status" in front of the number.

The custom number format for that is


enter image description here

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