Shading a Cell Until Something is Entered

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2015)

2

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.

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

Wildcards in 'Replace With' Text

When doing searches in Excel, you can use wildcard characters in the specification of what you are searching. However, ...

Discover More

Printing Documents without Markup

If you have a document with Track Changes turned on, you can accumulate quite a bit of "markup" in it. Here's how you can ...

Discover More

Moving the House Number to Its Own Cell

Excel is great at manipulating data, but sometimes it is difficult to figure out the best way to do the manipulation. ...

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)

Protecting Your Conditional Formatting Rules

If you have conditional formatting applied in a worksheet, the formulas in those formats may not be as secure as you ...

Discover More

Shading Based on Odds and Evens

You can use conditional formatting to add shading to various cells in your worksheet. This tip shows how you can shade ...

Discover More

Conditional Formatting with Data Imported from Access

If you want to apply a conditional format to data imported into Excel from Access, you may run into some difficulties ...

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

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 0?

2017-02-16 06:52:24

sanket bhoir

thanks a lot this explanation has been very useful.


2016-12-01 10:43:50

Joy

If I have a cell that I want to be highlighted that has an "example of what to put in the cell" Is there a way to make it un-highlighted once a change is made? Also this is a form that will be copied over and over so more than likely the cell will have information from when the form was filled out previously.


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.

Newest Tips
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.