Often you may want to apply conditional formatting to cells that contain specific partial text in Excel.

Fortunately this is easy to do by using the **New Rule** option within the **Conditional Formatting** feature in Excel:

The following example shows exactly how to do so.

**Example: Apply Conditional Formatting if Cell Contains Partial Text in Excel**

Suppose we have the following dataset that shows the names of various basketball teams:

Suppose we would like to highlight each team that contains “avs” somewhere in the name.

To do so, highlight the values in the range **A2:A13**, then click the **Conditional Formatting** icon on the **Home** tab, then click **New Rule**:

In the new window that appears, click **Use a formula to determine which cells to format**, then type in the following formula into the box:

=SEARCH("avs", A2)

Then click the **Format** button and choose a color to use:

Each team that contains “avs” in the name will automatically be highlighted:

Note that the **SEARCH** function is case-insensitive.

Thus, if we instead used **=SEARCH(“AVS”, A2)** then each team with “avs” in the name would still be highlighted.

If you would like to perform a case-sensitive search instead, you should use **FIND(“avs”, A2)** instead since the **FIND** function is case-sensitive.

**Related:** The Difference Between SEARCH vs. FIND Functions in Excel

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common operations in Excel:

Excel: Apply Conditional Formatting to Yes/No Values

Excel: Apply Conditional Formatting Based on Adjacent Cell

Excel: Apply Conditional Formatting if Cell Contains Formula