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.
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Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Highlighting Cells Containing Specific Text.
You can use the conditional formatting feature in Excel to help draw attention to cells that contain specific text in which you are interested. For instance, if you have a range of cells and you want to know which ones contain the letters "shawn," then you can do the following:
Figure 1. The New Formatting Rule dialog box.
Figure 2. The Format Cells dialog box.
There is a gotcha to be aware of when looking for specific text: The condtional formatting rule will consider the cell a match if it contains the text you specify in step 7 anywhere within the cell. So, for instance, if you use the text "shawn" in step 7, and the cell contains "My name is Shawn," then for the purpose of this type of format, this is a match.
The reason this works this way is because you specified "Containing" in step 6. If you want some other type of match, then you'll need to pick some different setting in step 6.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6235) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Highlighting Cells Containing Specific Text.
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