How to Make Cells Red if a Number is Less Than Zero in Google Sheets

In Microsoft Excel there is a number formatting option where you can have Excel automatically change the color of a number to red if the value of that number is less than zero. This is very helpful for many situations where you might use Excel, so if you are formatting a spreadsheet in Google Sheets, you may be looking for a way to achieve this.

One way to accomplish it is with Google Sheets’ conditional formatting. Our guide below is going to show you how to select a range of cells, then apply conditional formatting to that range so that Google Sheets will automatically change the fill color of a cell to red if the value in that cell is less than zero.

How to Use Google Sheets Conditional Formatting to Change Cell Color

The steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser, but will also work in other desktop browsers like Firefox or Edge.

Step 1: Sign into your Google Drive at and open the file to which you want to apply the formatting.

Step 2: Select the range of cells containing the values to modify.

select the range of cells

Step 3: Click the Format tab at the top of the window.

choose the Format tab

Step 4: Choose the Conditional formatting option at the bottom of the menu.

select the Conditional formatting option

Step 5: Click the Format cells if dropdown menu, then choose the Less than option.

choose Less than from the Format cells if menu

Step 6: Type “0” into the Value or formula field.

type 0 into the Value field

Step 7: Click the Fill color button, then choose red, or the desired color. Note that there is a Text color button to the left of this if you would rather just make the text color red.

choose the fill color for values less than 0

Step 8: Click the Done button.

how to make cells red if the value is less than 0 in Google Sheets

Are you working on a file with a number of other people, and you’re tired of constantly checking to see if someone has made a change or a comment? Find out how to enable change notifications in Google Sheets so that you can receive an email when changes occur instead.

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