SharePoint Designer 2010 Conditional Formatting

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if it was possible, during a conversation about alerts, if you could not just be notified of changes but also remind someone if a change hasn’t been made for x number of days or hours, we ended up agreeing that the most logical way to do this was using a simple SharePoint Designer Workflow.

I have previously written an Introduction to SharePoint Designer as well as Creating a email workflow with SharePoint Designer and this post will compliment them nicely.

The Scenario is this, we have a simple, out of the box, task list and we would like to have a visual indication that a task has not been completed as well as an email reminder every day if it is still not complete.

So during the conversation we came up with two cool ideas;

  1. Conditional Formatting to colour the row if the task is incomplete
  2. An email reminder if it is incomplete
In this post let’s take a look at conditional formatting as it’s so simple in SharePoint Designer it will take two minutes to explain.

Conditional Formatting

Navigate to your list, click on the List tab in the List Tools context menu (as below) and head all the way over to the right hand side to click on edit in SharePoint Designer.
Once SharePoint Designer has loaded you will be presented with the following screen, this will allow you to select the “All Tasks” view and we should be ready to apply our conditional formatting.
OK not quite, click on any where in the content area and then you will see the ribbon change to look the same as below, you can then click on Conditional Formatting > Format Row.
You will then be presented with the following dialogue box which will ask you to define the condition, in our example, we would like to change the background colour of the row if the status is not complete.
I will leave you to set the style and be as creative as you like.
The end result (which you will see in SPD design view) will look like this (below) depending on the tasks fulfilling the conditions you set.
Amazing right? No seriously, it actually is! The possibilities here are endless and users love this stuff, there are endless conversations on user adoption and this kind of thing really hits home with users, remember those guys who can’t move away from Excel because they have a spreadsheet that has some crazy conditional formatting. Now they can move right?
With all that being said, what if the users don’t check the website to see the tasks? That’s where tomorrow’s post kicks in as we will be setting up the workflow to remind them that the task is still due.
Matthew Hughes
Matthew Hughes
I am owner of Flucidity Ltd an Office 365 & SharePoint Consultancy based in the UK.
We develop intranets, provide training, custom branding and develop SharePoint solutions for companies of varying sizes from 2 users to 20,000.
I setup SharePoint 365 as I saw that there was a need for introductory blog posts and knew there were some fantastic authors out there who might not have time to run their own blogs and keep them updated regularly.
15 replies
  1. Luke
    Luke says:

    Hi there, I have applied conditional formatting to a task list- Its great.

    however its only appearing in my view of the list. When another user opens the list they don’t see the formatting. any ideas?

    • John Domingo
      John Domingo says:

      Any idea how to apply conditional formatting on SQL tables as grid view connectors??

      I can’t find any solution that allows me to do this, I’m thinking that maybe I can modify the code aspx file?

      Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.


      John MCITP

  2. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Great post. I have a question. How would I change the folder icon in a specific library? I followed your instructions to open the page but the list of the folders are not appearing for me to apply conditional formatting.

  3. Matthew Hughes
    Matthew Hughes says:

    Can you give us more details on what kind of conditional formatting you want on a folder? Folders don’t have Metadata associated with them hence you can’t apply conditional formatting in this way.

  4. Matthew Hughes
    Matthew Hughes says:

    Can you give us more details on what kind of conditional formatting you want on a folder? Folders don’t have Metadata associated with them hence you can’t apply conditional formatting in this way.

    It seems the images used for folders are not added to the page via a class either so the only way I can thing to change them is by using some clever jQuery and even then it wouldn’t be a nice solution.

  5. Ghulam Qadir Khan
    Ghulam Qadir Khan says:


    This is really a great article. One question from my side.

    I created a list and also added a column which is based on a formula and put a conditional formatting on that column but its not working. On all other columns, formatting is working but on that column where there is a formula, formatting is not working for that. Can you please help what do I need to do?

  6. Emiliyan
    Emiliyan says:

    Great post really!
    As most of the people that commented i also have a question: Is it possible to use the ‘conditional formatting; option on a “New Item” Form for example to hide a field if another field has a certain value?

  7. Matthew Hughes
    Matthew Hughes says:

    My first answer would be that JQuery and CSS could do that, however you can use Conditional Formatting to Show/Hide content but not sure what the parameters are for it.
    Have a quick look in Designer and you’ll see the options

  8. Prasanth Rowlo
    Prasanth Rowlo says:

    Can you help me in applying conditional formatting on one of the grid views on my aspx page built in sharepoint designer. There are few columns on which want to apply contional formatting based on value. I am a Windows Sys Admin, not developer :(.


  9. Glyn
    Glyn says:


    I’m new to SPD-2010 and has difficulty figuring out the conditional formatting of below conditions:

    1. Columns will be colored Red if Current date is more than 180 days (> 6 months) from the Modified date.

    2. Columns will be colored Amber if Current date is more than or equal to 90 days (>/= 3 months) but less than or equal to 180 days (</= 6 months) from the Modified date.

    3. Columns will be colored Green if Current date is less than 90 days (< 3 months) from the Modified date.

    Is there a way to apply the above statements?


  10. RevRod
    RevRod says:

    I have a question, I’m trying to do conditional formatting using SPD, but I’m trying to format based on columns that I don’t want others to see, is there a way to do this? In otherwords I have say 20 columns, but only want to show 5, and the conditional formatting that I’m applying is based on columns that I’m not including in my view.

    Any help would be appreciated.



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