Google Sheets: Highlight Row If Cell Is Empty

When working with larger databases, it might be difficult for human eyes to spot all the flaws or gaps. We can be a little bit smarter and lessen the strain on our eyes If we utilize the function or formulas of Google Sheets to highlight row if the cell is empty. Below are a few simple strategies.

A Sample of Practice Spreadsheet

3 Strategies to Highlight Rows If Cell Is Empty in Google Sheets

There are 3 approaches we can take to highlight a row if a cell is empty in Google Sheets. Each has a special function and formula, but the general procedure is the same in all circumstances. Conditional formatting will make the process look easier. To explain each scenario, we’ll make use of a simple dataset.

google sheets highlight row if cell is empty dataset

1. Using Custom Formula

We must first open the Conditional formatting window before we can utilize the custom formula. The following are the steps.


  • First, select the Format option from the ribbon.
  • Next, choose Conditional formatting from the drop-down.

conditional formatting navigation process

  • On the right side of the panel Conditional format rules, a window will appear. Select Add another rule.

appearance of conditional format column

  • You will now see a column labeled Conditional format rules. Here, the first step is to simply click the red box in the following image to set the data range.

conditional format rules accessibility and full menu

  • A new window will appear where you may set the data range, which in this case is B5:E14. Click OK to complete.

how to select data range when conditional formatiing

  • Set the format rules such as that Is Empty > Custom formula is.

format cells drop down menu for custom formulas

  • Immediately underneath the Custom formula is, a little box will show up. Here, we’ll put the custom formula for all that is:


  • The $ causes the rule to look at only column C in any row, even if it is evaluating the rule for cells in columns B-E (Which is a part of the whole conditional formatting range). We can say that column C is locked whereas the rows are unlocked.
  • To highlight the row, you can use any Fill color. We are utilizing the light orange color in this instance.
  • Then click “Done.”

highlight row when cell is empty using custom formula

Column C contains two empty cells, as you can see, thus it highlights the two rows.

NOTE: Keep in mind that for this example, we’ll look for any blank cells in column C, which is titled Gender. The algorithm will automatically highlight the full row if there are any blank cells.

Read More: Using Conditional Formatting With Custom Formula in Google Sheets

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2. Applying the COUNTBLANK Function

Instead of creating a special formula, we’ll take advantage of the COUNTBLANK function to highlight the rows. Same dataset as previously. But in this situation, we’ll focus on column D. The procedures remain unchanged.

  • Format > Conditional formattingconditional format menu navigation through format menu
  • Click Add another rule.

step 2 appearance of conditional format feature

  • Select data range from B5:E14.
  • Establish the formatting rules as Is Empty > Custom formula is.
  • Use the following formula:
  • Use any Fill color to draw attention to the row. In this case, we’re using light orange same as before.
  • Next, select “Done.”

highlight row when cell is empty using countblank formula

Only two empty cells are present in column D in the figure above. We have highlighted all rows with empty cells using Conditional formatting and the COUNTBLANK function.

Read More: Google Sheets: Conditional Formatting Row Based on Cell

3. Application of ISBLANK Function

Using the ISBLANK function, we can also get the same outcome. We will check column E with this function in order to find any blank cells. Only the formula has changed; all other processes remain the same.

  • In the beginning, click on Format.
  • After that, from the drop-down, select Conditional formatting.

how to open conditional format menu steps

  • Click Add another rule.

Conditional formatting column right side of the window

  • Select data range from B5:E14 like before.
  • Again, Establish the formatting rules as Is Empty > Custom formula is.
  • Use the following formula:
  • Choose any Fill color.
  • Finally, select “Done”.

highlight row when cell is empty using isblank formula

It is clear that column E has three empty cells. The ISBLANK function identifies the cells, and Conditional formatting allows us to highlight the entire row.

Read More: Change Row Color Based on Cell Value in Google Sheets (4 Ways)


Using conditional formatting in Google Sheets allows you to format cells differently depending on whether or not certain criteria are met. When it comes to highlighting rows when a cell is empty, conditional formatting is really beneficial. Within seconds, it simplified human tasks. Check out OfficeWheel‘s blog for additional cool shortcut tricks now that you know how to highlight rows when there are empty cells.

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Ishrak Khan

Ishrak Khan

Ishrak Khan is a writer and urban planner born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of the largest mega-cities. He is a professional Content Developer closely working with OfficeWheel. He simply likes to enthrall his readers. He loves Football, Nico Robin, Deserts, and Twix. If you like the post, give him a heart on Instagram.

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