Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Shading a Cell Until Something is Entered.

Shading a Cell Until Something is Entered

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2015)

When creating a worksheet in which information must be entered into specific cells, you may find it helpful to shade the cells if they are blank, but have the shading removed if something is entered into the cell. You can easily accomplish this task by using the conditional formatting feature in Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cells that you want shaded if they are empty.
  2. Choose Conditional Formatting from the Format menu. Excel displays the Conditional Formatting dialog box.
  3. Use the Condition drop-down to choose Formula Is. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Conditional Formatting dialog box.

  5. In the formula area, to the right of the drop-down list used in step 3, enter the following formula, replacing A1 with the address of the active cell selected in step 1:
  6.      =ISBLANK(A1)
    
  7. Click Format to display the Format Cells dialog box.
  8. Click the Patterns tab. (See Figure 2.)
  9. Figure 2. The Patterns tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  10. Select the color you want used for shading the cell if it is blank.
  11. Click OK to dismiss the Format Cells dialog box. The shading color you selected in step 7 should now appear in the preview area for the condition.
  12. Click OK.

All the empty cells among those selected in step 1 should now appear shaded. When you enter something into one of the shaded cells, the shading should disappear.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2800) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Shading a Cell Until Something is Entered.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Big File Memory Blues

Excel places limits on how much memory your workbooks can use. Despite these limits, it is possible to create a workbook that ...

Discover More

Saving in Document Format from a Macro

Saving a document in a different format is easy if you are manually using the Save As command. Saving a document in an ...

Discover More

Understanding AutoComplete

Entering data in a worksheet can be time consuming. One of the tools that Excel provides to make entry easier is ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Conditional Format that Checks for Data Type

Conditional formatting can be used to highlight cells that contain the improper type of data for your needs. This tip ...

Discover More

Conditionally Making a Sound

Need to have a sound played if a certain condition is met? It is rather easy to do if you use a user-defined function to ...

Discover More

Highlighting Cells Containing Specific Text

If you want to highlight cells that contain certain characters, you can use the conditional formatting features of Excel to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share