Highlight closest number
This post demonstrates how to highlight records with the closest value to a criterion, you can also choose to highlight the second closest value (or more).
You can also extract the number using the formula described in this article: Find closest value, perhaps you are also interested in how to find the numbers in a total closest to a given sum.
Conditional formatting formula
This formula won't work in Excel 2010 and later Excel versions, simply create a named range containing the formula above. Then use that name as the conditional formatting formula, download the file later in this article if you need to see exactly how I did it.
How to apply conditional formatting formula
Make sure you adjust cell references to your excel sheet.
 Select cells B6:D10
 Click "Home" tab
 Click "Conditional Formatting" button
 Click "New Rule.."
 Click "Use a formula to determine which cells to format"

Type =OR(ABS($C6$C$2)=SMALL(ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2), ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A, $C$3)))) in "Format values where this formula is TRUE" window.
(The formula displayed in the image above is not used in this article)  Click "Format.." button
 Click "Fill" tab
 Select a color for highlighting cells.
 Click "Ok"
 Click "Ok"
 Click "Ok"
How the conditional formatting formula works in cell C6
=OR(ABS($C6$C$2)=SMALL(ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2), ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A, $C$3))))
Step 1  Calculate age differences
=OR(ABS($C6$C$2)=SMALL(ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2), ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A, $C$3))))
ABS(number) returns the absolute value of a number, a number without its sign.
ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2)
becomes
ABS({25;46;33;26;47}30)
becomes
ABS({5;16;3;4;17})
and returns {5;16;3;4;17}
Step 2  Create an array with the same size as chosen records to highlight in cell C3.
=OR(ABS($C6$C$2)=SMALL(ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2),ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A,$C$3))))
ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A,$C$3)))
becomes
ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A,2)))
becomes
ROW($A$1:$A$2)
and returns {1;2}
Step 3  Return the two smallest numbers in array
=OR(ABS($C6$C$2)=SMALL(ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2),ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A,$C$3))))
SMALL(array,k) returns the kth smallest number in this data set.
SMALL(ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2),ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A,$C$3)))
becomes
SMALL({5;16;3;4;17};{1;2})
and returns {3;4}
Step 4  Is cell value in C6 equal to any number in array?
=OR(ABS($C6$C$2)=SMALL(ABS($C$6:$C$10$C$2),ROW($A$1:INDEX($A:$A,$C$3))))
becomes
OR(logical1, logical2, ...) checks whether any of the arguments are TRUE, and returns TRUE or FALSE. Returns FALSE if only all arguments are FALSE.
$C6 is a relative AND absolute cell reference.
=OR(ABS($C6$C$2)={3;4})
becomes
=OR(ABS(2530)={3;4})
becomes
=OR(ABS(5)={3;4})
becomes
=OR(5={3;4})
becomes
=OR({5=3,5=4})
becomes
=OR({FALSE,FALSE})
and returns FALSE. Row 6 is not highlighted.
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10 Responses to โHighlight closest numberโ
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I duplicated the spreadsheet but the formula did not work for me on Excel 2007. It says there's an error. Could you check and explain? Thx.
Lyon,
You probably have to adjust cell references in conditional formatting formula to your spreadsheet.
As I mentioned, I recreate the sample spreadsheet and copy paste the formula. But Excel 2007 says there's an error in the formula. Something is not right.
Lyon,
You are right, I found errors. I have corrected them.
Thanks for pointing them out.
It's now working! Great! Thanks a lot for your quick response.
Absoultely great
only small problem
when I enter value of 40 in search value in example given
it highlights 3 values (wendy also) I accepted it to highlight
only richard & sarah
I used this formula, however, I received errors. I see this post is quite old. is there an updated formula for excel 2010?
kris
You are right, it is not working for excel 2010.
I created a named range with the same formula and used that named range in a CF formula.
Please can you elaborate as to how to get this done in excel 2013.
Ranjan
See my answer to kris above, it should work in excel 2013 also?