Conditional Formatting and coding

Code Conditional Formatting

Guest blog post by Beth Mossholder

A few years ago I was looking for ideas to create some new lessons on spreadsheet, and where do you go to find spreadsheet ideas? Duh.  I ran across this post about creating pixel art and spreadsheets. There was an ah-ha moment when I realized two things: 1. Yet again, the answer is a spreadsheet 2. Conditional formatting is coding!

Conditional formatting uses If/then statements to code the spreadsheet.  To introduce If/Then statements, have students try paint by numbers.

I created this inspired by Alice’s post.

conditional formatting

If/Then Statements

Here’s the If/then statement:

IF any cell in this sheet has a value of 9 THEN turn the cell black.

Tip:  “Add another rule”  reduces steps

Usually, once students understand the concept they get pretty creative.  This is a great jumping off point to create other sheets, and have deeper conversations with learners about coding concepts and their application in the real world.  I started this with 2nd graders and use the concept for teaching students of all ages (including adults) about coding and spreadsheets.


If you would like use this example its linked here.



Beth Mossholder is a geek who loves digital badges. She became a Google Certified Innovator (Teacher) in Sydney, Australia in 2011, a Google for Education Certified Trainer in 2015, and a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator in Manchester, UK in 2016. Beth loves her tiny human Presley, Googly things, Geeky Things, and connecting with other educators over their shared love of technology and teaching. She loves presenting at local, state, and international conferences sharing creative ways to utilize Google tools, tablets, Chromebooks, and other technologies such as 3d printers and Raspberry Pi. She has been working in education for nearly 2 decades and feels passionate about speaking from experience and with a sense of humor. Her goal is to connect with others to collaborate on making the world a better place through the continued improvement of educational experiences for children and adults.