Verifying data is an important task, and Excel's conditional formatting can help by alerting you to inconsistencies. The figure above shows a common accounting tool known as cross-footing -- the process of double-checking totals by comparing subtotals across rows and columns -- in cell F16. Adding the conditional format makes the discrepancy hard to miss when the two totaling values don't match.
Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.