Shading a Cell Until Something is Entered

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 16, 2019)

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

Centering a Custom Paper Size on a Piece of Letter-Sized Paper

Sometimes getting your printed output to match your expectations can be a challenge. Such is the case when you want to ...

Discover More

Understanding Nonprinting Characters

Even characters that print nothing still take space in your document. Characters such as tabs, spaces, breaks, and the ...

Discover More

Renaming a Workbook

Renaming a workbook from within Excel can seem daunting, but it is actually quite easy. All you need to do is use the ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Using Multiple Test Conditions

When creating conditional formats, you are not limited to only one condition. You can create up to three conditions, all ...

Discover More

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

More than Three Conditional Formats

Conditional formatting is a great feature for making the data in your worksheets more understandable and usable. What if ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 five minus 3?

2020-07-29 14:26:10

Megan B

Is there a way to shade cells with values already in them, but have them go blank when the values are edited?


2020-04-05 13:10:41

Ashraf Hafez

Great
Thank You


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.