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I have the following VLOOKUP formula for a Conditional Formatting rule:

=VLOOKUP(A1,Sheet1!$A$2:$C$17,3,FALSE)<>0

This works fine and does what I want, which is this: If column C (3rd column) in the lookup table contains any value (i.e. <>0), apply some formatting to the current cell.

What I don't understand is the A1 value used as the first argument in the formula. When I entered the above rule using Conditional Formatting -> New rule -> Use a formula to determine which cells to format, I specified the entire worksheet of Sheet2. So when I enter a value in any cell in Sheet2, the formula is applied and really works beautifully.

But why does it work when the value to look up is specified as A1?

I am using Excel 2016 on Windows 7 x86.

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Conditional formatting formula is always applied at cell level.

If you go to another cell in the range with the conditional formatting, you'll probably see different references.

  • I don't understand what you mean by "seeing different references in another cell". The formula is not in a specific cell. It is contained inside the rule I created. – Sabuncu Jan 27 '16 at 15:05

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