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How to highlight non-blank cells in Excel?

If you have a large number of data in a worksheet which populated with some blank cells, and you want to highlight all the cells which have data and ignoring the blank cells, how could you do in Excel?

Highlight non-blank cells with Conditional Formatting Excel

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arrow blue right bubble Highlight non-blank cells with Conditional Formatting Excel


Conditional Formatting is a powerful feature in Excel, with it, we can quickly highlight all non-blank cells at once.

1. Select the data range that you want to highlight the cells with content.

2. Click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule, see screenshot:

doc-highlight-non-blanks-1

3. In the New Formatting Rule dialog, please click Use a formula to determine which cells to format from the Select a Rule Type list box, and then enter this formula =NOT(ISBLANK(A1)) into the Format values where this formula is true text box, see screenshot:

doc-highlight-non-blanks-1

4. And then click Format button, in the popped out Format Cells dialog, choose one color you like under the Fill tab, see screenshot:

doc-highlight-non-blanks-1

5. Then click OK > OK to close the dialogs, and now, you can see all the cells which contain data have been highlighted at once. See screenshot:

doc-highlight-non-blanks-1

Note: Conditional Formatting tool is a dynamic function, the cell will not be highlighted if you delete the content of one cell.


Related article:

How to highlight largest / lowest value in each row or column?


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    anthony · 2 years ago
    as an addentum to the previous comment, as an alternative method for highlighting all empty cells:

    Conditional Formatting/Highlight Cells Rules/Equal To.../ and type in the following formula:

    =A1=""


    done! :)
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Scott · 2 years ago
    I have a similar issue, but I don't understand why the above solution works. If I highlight Cells A1-G10, then use the conditional formatting statement above, =NOT(ISBLANK(A1)), and select a colr for fill, what I would 'expect to happen' is if A1 is blank, no cells would be filled. If A1 has a non-blank value, ALL the cells from A1 through G10 would be highlighted, since A1 is no longer blank.

    So what am I missing? I have several dozen cells in a form that I want to change color 'if' the user enters in a value (visual feedback). I am having to do this individually for every cell, since I want each cell to change color ONLY if a non-blank value is entered into its cell. I'd love to be able to do this so that the ISBLANK() statement 'self references. I tried to replace ISBLANK() with "" (thus, the statement =NOT(""), but that did not work.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Mojo · 1 years ago
      rule: =NOT(ISBLANK($A2))
      applies to : =$C2,$F2,$L2
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Leo · 2 years ago
      You're very lucky as I know the answer to your problem. The formula of this guy is wrong as, like you mentioned, the logic only applies if cell A1 is blank or not. What you need to do is replace that with the cell range you wan't to apply the highlight on.

      For instance, if you want to highlight cells with values for cells A1 to A5, then you need to have the following formula:

      =NOT(ISBLANK(A1:A5))

      As simple as that. Cheers!
      • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
        Dan · 2 years ago
        Actually you just need to put in the first cell in the range in which you want the conditional formatting to work. Example you want to apply the formatting to the range B12 - HS12 you would use the formulae =NOT(ISBLANK(B12))