Counting Empty Colored Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 25, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


3

Cindy has a fully formatted worksheet that uses color in many cells. Some of the cells have values in them; many do not. She needs a way to count any colored cells that are empty and wonders if there is a quick way to do this.

There are a few ways you can get the information you need. One way is to go through these steps:

  1. Figure out which color it is that you want to use in your count.
  2. Press F5. Excel displays the Go To dialog box.
  3. Click the Special button. Excel displays the Go To Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Go To Special dialog box.

  5. Select the Blanks radio button.
  6. Click OK. Now all the blank cells in the worksheet are selected.
  7. Press Ctrl+F. Excel displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  8. Click the Options button to expand the dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  9. Figure 2. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  10. Click the Format button. Excel displays the Find Format dialog box.
  11. Make sure the Fill tab is displayed. (See Figure 3.)
  12. Figure 3. The Fill tab of the Find Format dialog box.

  13. Click on the color you want to search for. (This is the color you determined in step 1.)
  14. Click OK to close the Find Format dialog box.
  15. Click Find All.

When you perform these steps, Excel shows, at the bottom of the Find and Replace dialog box, how many cells it found that match your color. Since you started the search with only blank cells selected, the resulting count is all those cells that are blank that are filled with the color.

Of course, if you need to determine this count quite a few times, then these steps can get very tedious very quickly. In such cases it is a better idea to use a macro. The following macro steps through each blank cell in whatever range you have selected and checks to see if it contains a pattern or a color and is empty. If the conditions are fulfilled, then a counter for that color is incremented.

Sub CountBlankColors1()
    Dim c As Range
    Dim J As Integer
    Dim ColorCount(56) As Long

    ActiveSheet.Range("a1").CurrentRegion.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks).Select

    For Each c In Selection
        With c.Interior
            If .Pattern <> xlNone Then
                If .ColorIndex <> xlNone Then
                    If IsEmpty(c) Then
                        ColorCount(.ColorIndex) = _
                          ColorCount(.ColorIndex) + 1
                    End If
                End If
            End If
        End With
    Next c

    sTemp = "These are the color counts" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf
    For J = 0 To 56
        If ColorCount(J) > 0 Then
            sTemp = sTemp & "Color " & J & ": " & ColorCount(J) & vbCrLf
        End If
    Next J

    MsgBox sTemp
End Sub

Of course, you might not want to count different colors individually. Instead, you might want to know simply how many blank cells are filled with any color, in aggregate. In that case the macro becomes much simpler.

Sub CountBlankColors2()
    Dim c As Range
    Dim x As Long

    x = 0
    ActiveSheet.Range("a1").CurrentRegion.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks).Select

    For Each c In Selection
        If c.Interior.Pattern <> xlNone Then
            If c.Interior.ColorIndex <> xlNone Then
                If IsEmpty(c) Then x = x + 1
            End If
        End If
    Next c
    MsgBox "Number of colored blank cells: " & x
End Sub

It should be noted that these approaches don't take into consideration if the cell is colored through the use of a conditional format or not. (In fact, they don't take conditional formats into account at all.)

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12581) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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. ...

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Comments

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What is eight more than 2?

2024-05-27 11:22:04

J. Woolley

Define an empty cell as one with no content and a blank cell as one that appears empty but might have content. A blank cell might be empty or it might contain a single apostrophe (') or a space character or a formula that returns null text (""), etc.
The Range.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks) method returns empty cells only; blank cells are not included despite the name.
Here's a version of the Tip's CountBlankColors2 that counts empty colored cells as requested by Cindy.

Sub CountEmptyColored()
    Dim c As Range, x As Long
    x = 0
    On Error GoTo Done
        ActiveSheet.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks).Select
    On Error GoTo 0
    For Each c In Selection
        With c.Interior
            If .Pattern = xlSolid Then
                If .ColorIndex <> xlAutomatic Then x = x + 1
            ElseIf .Pattern <> xlNone Then
                x = x + 1
            End If
        End With
    Next c
Done: MsgBox "Number of empty colored cells: " & x
End Sub

Here's a version that counts blank colored cells, which Cindy might prefer.

Sub CountBlankColored()
    Dim c As Range, x As Long
    x = 0
    ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Select
    For Each c In Selection
        If Trim(c.Value) = "" Then
            With c.Interior
                If .Pattern = xlSolid Then
                    If .ColorIndex <> xlAutomatic Then x = x + 1
                ElseIf .Pattern <> xlNone Then
                    x = x + 1
                End If
            End With
        End If
    Next c
    MsgBox "Number of blank colored cells: " & x
End Sub

Notice UsedRange includes cells with a fill color or pattern. A cell with a pattern will have a color and vice versa. But if the pattern is solid and the color is automatic, the cell will have the normal background color and appear to have no color; such cells are not counted in these macro versions but are counted by the Tip's macros. Finally, xlPatternNone and xlColorIndexNone are the same as xlNone, xlPatternSolid is the same as xlSolid, and xlColorIndexAutomatic is the same as xlAutomatic.


2024-05-25 14:40:47

J. Woolley

Re. my previous comment below, SpecialCells(...) is a method, not a property.


2024-05-25 14:37:55

J. Woolley

The following statement should be added to the Tip's CountBlankColors1 macro
    Dim sTemp As String
In both macros, the following statement
ActiveSheet.Range("a1").CurrentRegion.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks).Select
probably should be replaced by this statement
    ActiveSheet.Range("a1").SpecialCells(xlCellTypeBlanks).Select
but the result might be the same.
Notice when cells in the range A1:B2 are blank (empty), the following statement
    ActiveSheet.Range("a1").CurrentRegion.Select
selects only cell A1 even if cells beyond A1:B2 are not blank. The property SpecialCells(...) apparently extends this selection beyond CurrentRegion to UsedRange.


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