To apply conditional formatting to cells in Excel if another specific cell is not empty, you can use the New Rule option under the Conditional Formatting dropdown menu within the Home tab.
The following example shows how to use this option in practice.
Example: Apply Conditional Formatting to Second Highest Value in Excel
Suppose we have the following dataset in Excel that shows the points scored by various basketball players:
Suppose we would like to apply conditional formatting to the second highest value in the Points column.
To do so, we can highlight the cells in the range B2:B13, then click the Conditional Formatting dropdown menu on the Home tab and then click New Rule:
In the new window that appears, click Use a formula to determine which cells to format, then type =B2=LARGE(B$2:B$13,2) in the box, then click the Format button and choose a fill color to use.
Once we press OK, the second highest value in the Points column will be highlighted with a light green background:
We can manually verify that the correct cell is highlighted by identifying 40 as the highest value in the Points column and 35 as the second highest value:
Note #1: If multiple cells have the second highest value, then each of those cells will receive conditional formatting.
Note #2: We chose to use a light green fill for the conditional formatting in this example, but you can choose any color and style you’d like for the conditional formatting.
The following tutorials explain how to perform other common operations in Excel: