Excel: How to Highlight Cell if Value Not in List


Often you may want to highlight a cell in Excel if it does not contain a value in some list.

Fortunately this is easy to do using the New Rule feature within the Conditional Formatting options.

The following example shows how to do so.

Example: How to Highlight Cell if Value Not in List

Suppose we have the following two lists of basketball teams in Excel:

Suppose we would like to highlight each cell in the All Teams list that does not exist in the Good Teams list.

To do so, we can highlight the cell range A2:A11 and then click the Conditional Formatting icon on the Home tab along the top ribbon, then click New Rule from the dropdown menu:

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

=COUNTIF($C$2:$C$6,A2)=0

Then click the Format button and choose a color to use for the conditional formatting.

We’ll choose light red:

Lastly, click OK.

Each cell in the All Teams list that does not exist in the Good Teams list will automatically be highlighted in light red:

Excel highlight if not in list

Note: In this example we chose to use a light red fill for the conditional formatting of the cells, but you can choose any fill color you’d like.

Additional Resources

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

Excel: How to Check if Cell Contains Text from List
Excel: Search for Value in List and Return Yes or No
Excel: How to Match Two Columns and Return a Third

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