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The situation - I have rows of data where similar names are grouped and merged to show all those rows are for the same individual like so:

Now I'd like to have conditional formatting where say if the last row is a certain value (these are merged too) say "Highlight2" in this case then fill columns 4-6 with blue, and if it has the value of "Highlight" then fill columns 1-3 with blue. Like so:

But when I try the formula I get this output because merged cells only seem to have values in the top left cell:

The conditional formatting looks like this for say column 5:

Is there a way to get it to register the values in merges cells without separating them and copying the value as that looks a lot more messy.

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As you already know, merged cells only have values in the top left cell.
That is why you will need a helper column eg. in column P having all cells un-merged.

You can then use a formula like: =$P3="Highlight"

Conditional formatting on merged cells

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