Dividend Meter > Articles by: Meter Man
Keeping a transaction journal in my Dividend Meter provides a history of dividend compounding at work over time, so it’s important to record new purchases of stock and dividend increases as they happen. When new shares of stock have been purchased, it’s easy to determine why the needle on the Meter moved higher because I know what stock I just bought. However, since Google Sheets automatically updates the cells with each opening of the spreadsheet, it can be difficult to quickly determine why a Dividend Meter reading is higher than the last recorded journal entry. It’s either an error in the dividend amount, or a dividend increase has occurred, which is always a nice surprise!
Applying conditional formatting is a simple modification you can make to your Dividend Meter spreadsheet to easily determine if a company has increased or decreased their dividend. Simply click the cell containing the annual dividend figure, select the Format tab, and choose “Conditional formatting…”
In the Conditional Formatting pane, click the selection box under the heading “Format cells if…” and select Greater than. Manually enter the current dividend figure for the stock. Change the fill color to whatever color you desire – my preference is green for a dividend increase and red for a decrease…
To add an alert for a dividend cut, click “Add another rule” at the bottom of the Conditional Formatting window…
To add a dividend cut alert, select Less than…, enter the same dividend figure (should already be filled in), and change the fill color. Then click Done. Apply the same steps for each security on your dividend tracking spreadsheet. Google Sheets will remember the conditional formatting parameters. Going forward, you’ll only have to change the dividend figure when/if a dividend increase or cut occurs.
Now, when you open your Dividend Meter, and the gauge chart shows a different value than your last recorded journal entry, you should be able to quickly identify which stock increased or decreased its dividend.