I have some cells which I would like to format to display the level achieved for each person: enter image description here

On the right I have a table called Table3 which contains the data of the level achieved by each person. This is shown on the left by a bar graph.

The formula I have in B2 to give me the TRUE and FALSEs for the conditional formatting is: =VLOOKUP($A2,Table3,2,FALSE)>=B$1. However, if copy and paste this formula into the conditional formatting dialogue box I get an error saying the formula is not valid. If I however replace Table3 with $G$2:$H$5 it works perfectly.

So, why does conditional formatting not like my table names, and is there a way to use tables when doing conditional formatting?

  • Do you have any hiding rows or filter in Table3? if it is normal no filter no hidden rows it worked with me
    – yass
    Jul 10, 2017 at 19:43
  • I don't have anything hidden or filtered in by workbook
    – M.Hesse
    Jul 10, 2017 at 19:57
  • I just looked at this again and it appears to be problem with using table names, not named ranges. I have amended by question to specifically ask about table ranges.
    – M.Hesse
    Jul 10, 2017 at 20:04
  • If Table3 is not a named range then you have to write sheet!$G$2:$H$5 in Vlookup you cannot just write the name of the sheet only
    – yass
    Jul 10, 2017 at 20:10
  • use named range instead of sheet name in conditional Formatting
    – yass
    Jul 10, 2017 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


To reference a table within conditional formatting formula you will need to use INDIRECT("<Table_Name>").

Your formula will thus be : =VLOOKUP($A2,INDIRECT("Table3"),2,FALSE)>=B$1

I don't know why but it just works.

Reference: How to use a table name in data validation lists and conditional formatting formulas

(BTW: Why don't you just use the "Data Bar" Conditional Formatting in your table? It would be much easier.)

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