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How to shade or color blank or nonblank cells in Excel?

Supposing you want to shade/color all blank cells (or nonblank cells) in a specified range in Excel. How could you fill or shade all blank cells at a time in Excel?

Fill all blank/nonblank cells with Go to Special function

With this method you can quickly color the empty cells in the worksheet.

1. Select the specified range where you will shade all blank cells (or nonblank cells).

2. Click Home > Find & Select > Go To Special…to open the Go To Special dialog box. And then check the Blanks option in this dialog box, see screenshot:
Note: For selecting all nonblank cells, please check the Constants option.

3. Click OK. And all of the blank cells (or nonblank cells) have been selected in the specified range.

4. And then click Home > Fill Color and choose the color you'd like to fill. See screenshot:

And all of the empty cells (or nonblank cells) have been shaded.

Shade all blank/nonblank cells with Conditional Formatting

You can also apply Conditional Formatting to shade blank (or nonblank) cells. With this method, when you enter data into a blank cell (or remove data from a nonblank cell), the shading color in this cell will be restored to the default color. You can do as follows:

1. Select the range where you will shade all blank (or nonblank) cells. See screenshot:

2. Then click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule to open the New Formatting Rule dialog box.

3. In the opening dialog box, please click Use a formula to determine which cells to format in the Select a Rule Type box, and enter the formula =A1= "" (A1 is the first cell in the specified range) into the Format values where this formula is true box, and click the Format button.
Note: For shading all nonblank cells in the specified range, please enter this formula =A1<>"" into the Format values where this formula is true box.

4. Then in the Format Cell dialog box, select a fill color on the Fill tab, and click the OK button.

5. And it will return to the New Formatting Rule dialog box, you can preview the color in the Preview box, and please click the OK button to apply this conditional formatting.
All of the blank cells (or nonblank cells) in the specified range have been shaded. When you type some data into the colored blank cells (or remove data from nonblank cells), the cell will return to the default background color.

Color nonblank cells with Kutools for Excel

This method will guide you apply Kutools for Excel’s Select Nonblank Cells utility to select all nonblank cells in a specified range, and then color them easily in Excel.

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1. Select the range where you will color all nonblank cells together, and click Kutools > Select > Select Nonblank Cells. See screenshot:

Then a dialog box will come out and tell you how many nonblank cells have been selected. Click the OK button to close it. See screenshot above.

2. Add fill color for these selected cell by clicking Home > Fill Color and selecting a fill color from drop down list. See screenshot:

So far we have colored all nonblank cells together in the specified range as below screenshot shown:
doc color nonblank cells 4

Demo: shade or color nonblank cells in Excel

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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    ND · 4 years ago
    Hey, thanks for the help. Just one question, is there a way to fill in nonblank cells and leave cells with a formula but no value blank?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Deborah · 4 years ago
    I actually had to reverse the formula to say =A1"" and Format the conditional format the normal format (no fill and black text) and then format the range the way I wanted the blanks to look (light red fill) to get it to work. I am not sure why it would not detect the empty cells but it could detect the not empty cells. maybe it was because it was a table built linked to a query.

    But either way i can use it, so thanks so much.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Mark · 4 years ago
    Excellent, clear and concise instructions. Great when you can google a question, find the answer and the instructions are simple and clear.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Ntharotep · 5 years ago
    I wanted to JUST shade cells in excel that are blank using a formula but your formula shades all cells with any content blank or otherwise. Is there a formula other than "" for blank cells?

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    saneel · 6 years ago
    Vendor1 Vendor2 Vendor3 Vendor4 Vendor5 Low Bid Vendor For Low Bid
    Product1 8 6 3 8 3
    Product2 6 4 4 3 5
    Product3 8 6 6 8 3
    Product4 6 7 7 8 4
    Product5 8 8 3 3 5
    Product6 8 4 7 3 7
    Product7 5 8 7 4 5
    Product8 4 6 6 7 4
    Product9 4 8 6 7 3
    Product10 6 6 5 7 5
    Product11 4 5 6 4 3
    How we can do this can any one help me
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    HIRALAL · 6 years ago
    Thanks a lot for both the method,it worked perfectly well.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    LCC · 6 years ago
    Worked perfectly ^^ Thanks a lot!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    rusty · 7 years ago
    Thanks for both methods.
    Very nice
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    laci · 7 years ago
    Hi I have a data sheet where different contact are saved. Phone Nr.1, Phone2, Phone3, Phone4. I need to delete all rows where all 4 selected cells(e.g. A2, B2, C2, D2) are blank. Its about 7000 rows I have to clean up. Can you help? thx L.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      guest · 7 years ago
      I would just filter those columns so that only blanks are showing in all four fields. Then just delete those rows. Not sure if there is a more slick way, but that seems easy.
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    Excelchief · 7 years ago
    Coloring every other field can be achieved by using a theme on your spreadsheet
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    helpme · 7 years ago
    I just want to shade every other cell? How can I do this
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    KD · 7 years ago
    I tried both ways and they both worked perfectly. Now, is there any way that I could write a formula that highlighted the blanks via the rows only? :cry:
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    Rhiannon · 7 years ago
    Thank you! It did just what I wanted.
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    Tom · 7 years ago
    Nicely done. tried check for "" a bunch of different ways, never tried it that way. selecting blanks is elegant as well, but I have to check for other dynamic values.
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    Sarav · 7 years ago
    Awesome. good to learn both methods. Awesome
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    JPRubenstein · 7 years ago
    A better way is to set up a Conditional Rule from the New Formatting Rule dialog, under Rule Type, select "Format only cells that contain" and select "Blanks," then click Format>Fill, etc.
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    AYAN · 8 years ago
    The =A1= “” formula worked perfectly - Thanks