How to alternate row colors in Google Sheets (Easy Methods)

January 9, 2024 421 views

With the improvements in the features of Google Sheets, analyzing and reading data has become very easy. It provides several simplified ways to alternate row colors.

Google Sheets' alternate row color makes reading and finding information more accessible, especially when working with large datasets.

Using alternate row colors, you can easily break up your spreadsheet into more superficial cells.

How to Alternate Row Colors in Google Sheets.

Alternating colors in Google Sheets is one of its unique features. It makes for efficient editing and handling of cells.

There are a few ways to customize row colors in Google Sheets, but the most efficient and straightforward way is to use the “Format” menu. Using That method, you are just a few clicks away from personalizing rows in Google Sheets.

Follow these simple steps to learn how to make alternating color rows in Excel.

Step 1: Select and highlight the cell to be formatted.

If you want alternating colors to apply to the whole spreadsheet, press Ctrl + A on Windows, and on Mac, Command + A to highlight all.

Step 2: Click ‘Format’ on the menu bar and select ‘Alternating colors.’

Alt: Select “Alternating colors.”

Step 3: Choose one of the default styles or personalize your color.

Alt: Choose a default or custom style.

Note: If you decide to use a custom color style for the row colors, go to “Custom styles” and click to personalize a row color.

Step 4: Select “Done.”

If you wish to remove Google Sheets alternating colors, select any of the cells in the dataset. Click on the “Format” menu, and then click on the “Alternating colors” option. A pane will open with the “Remove alternating colors” option.

Note: Google Sheets will automatically adjust the row color if additional rows are inserted in the dataset.

That method saves me much time, so I frequently alternate row colors when working with Google Sheets.

It also gives me many default styles and an interface to customize my color styles easily.

How do you Alter Row Colors with a Formula?

To use a formula to personalize Google Sheets alternate row colors, you must use “Conditional formatting.”

Unlike the other more superficial and more convenient ways of formatting the rows of your table, conditional formatting allows you to personalize rows.

Follow these steps for more personalized formatting:

Step 1: Click “Conditional formatting" from the “Format” tab.

Step 2: Select the range to be formatted.

Type the range you wish to format in the “Apply to range” box.

Step 3: Select “Custom formula is” under the “Format cell if.”

Alt: Select “Custom formula is.”

Step 4: Enter the custom formula and then hit “Done.”

For coloring even rows: “=ISEVEN(ROW())”

For coloring odd rows: “=ISODD(ROW())”

Using formulas to alternate rows in Google Sheets makes my work fun. It allows me to play around with different possibilities easily.

Sometimes, I need to alternate colors every 3 rows or more. That can quickly be done using a formula.

Note: If you intend to alternate colors every 3 rows or every 4 rows, the formula will change.

  • To color every third row, input “=MOD(ROW(),3)=0.”

  • To color every fourth row, input “=MOD(ROW(),4)=0.”

You can change the number in the formula based on the value of the spaces you want to place between the row colors.

Alternating row colors in table settings Vs. Alternating row colors with a formula.

When it has to do with alternating row colors in Google Sheets, it is usually about something other than the best method but which is preferable to you. You can choose to use any of these methods, depending on what you want to achieve at a particular time.

Both methods are easy to implement, as you have learned here.

If you are new to Google Sheets, there are better options than using a formula.

However, alternating row colors using a formula will give you more room to personalize rows.

The two methods work perfectly for me when I use Google Sheets. Learn the two methods and enjoy a better Google Sheets experience.

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  • How do I highlight every second (every third/fourth) row in Excel?

One of the easiest ways to highlight the desired rows in Excel is by holding the Control (Command on Mac) key on your keyboard and selecting the desired rows in your spreadsheets. That works best if you are working with a spreadsheet with a few rows.

When working with larger sheets, it is preferable to create a formula within Conditional Formatting

Here are some simple steps to do That:

Step 1: Select the range of data you wish to highlight

Step 2: Apply the Conditional Formatting feature.

  • From "Home," click “Conditional Formatting” and then “New Rule.”

  • From “Select a Rule Type," click “Use a formula to determine which cells to format.”

  • Enter your formula in the “Format values where That formula is true” textbox and click “OK.”

To Highlight every third row: “=MOD(ROW(),3)=0”

To highlight every fourth row: “=MOD(ROW(),4)=0”

  • How do I highlight the columns with colors?

Step 1: Open the spreadsheet in Google Sheets in a web browser.

Step 2: Highlight the column to which you want to apply color.

Click the column label at the top of the spreadsheet to do That. You can also click on any cell in the column and press Control + Space (Windows).

On Mac, press Command + Space.

Step 3: Right-click anywhere on the column and select conditional formatting.

Step 4: Apply Format Rules

Click the drop-down menu under “Format cell if," then select “Is not empty.”

Select “Custom formula” if you want to enter a formula.

Step 5: Apply the formatting style and click "Done.”

  1. Can you apply conditional formatting to an entire row in Google Sheets?

Yes, applying conditional formatting to an entire row is possible in Google Sheets.

Conditional formatting is an advantageous technique for formatting cells based on certain conditions.

To apply it across an entire row in Google Sheets, using a formula is your most suitable option.

Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Highlight the range of data you wish to format.

Step 2: Click “Format” and select “Conditional formatting.”

Step 3: Click the drop-down menu under “Format cell if”

Select “Custom formula is" from the drop-down.

Step 4: Enter your formula.

E.g., Enter =$E:$E=”Sydney”

That ensures that any row containing Sydney is highlighted.


That guide explains Google Sheets's alternate row colors in detail. The various ways of alternating row colors in Google Sheets are explained in simplified steps.

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