In this tutorial, I will discuss how to highlight cells that contain text from a list in Excel. I will use Conditional Formatting to highlight cells. Furthermore, I will use several Excel functions and formulas, such as Conditional Formatting, to highlight cells.

**Table of Contents**hide

**How to Highlight Cells in Excel: That Contain Text from a List**

**1. Use COUNTIF Function to Highlight Cells That Have Text from a List**

You can use **the COUNTIF function** to highlight cells having the text from a list. For example, I have a list of Fruit 1 (**B4:B14**) containing several fruit names. In another list, Fruit 2 (**D4:D9**), I have some other fruit names. Now, I will highlight the names of Fruit 2 in the list of Fruit 1.

**Steps:**

- First, select the dataset (
**B5:B14**).

- Go to
**Home**>**Conditional Formatting**(**Styles**group).

- Next, go to the
**New Rule**from the**Conditional Formatting**drop-down.

- Consequently, the
**New Formatting Rule**window will show up. Then, choose the**Rule Type: Use a formula to determine which cells to format**. Type the formula below in the field:**Format values where this formula is true**. Later, click on the**Format**.

`=COUNTIF($D$5:$D$9,B5)`

- Choose the highlight color from the
**Fill**. Click**OK**.

- Again, click
**OK**to close the dialog box.

- Finally, you will see all the cells containing text from the list Fruit 2 is highlighted.

**2. Apply Excel MATCH Function to Highlight Cells That Have Text from a List**

Now, we will use **the MATCH function** to highlight cells having texts from a list.

**Steps:**

- First, select the dataset (
**B5:C14**).

- Go to
**Home**>**Conditional Formatting**>**New Rule**. - The
**New Formatting Rule**window will appear. Then, choose the**Rule Type: Use a formula to determine which cells to format**. Type the below formula in the field:**Format values where this formula is true**. After that, click on the**Format**button and choose the highlight color from the**Fill**tab.

`=MATCH($B5,$E$5:$E$9,0)`

- Click
**OK**>**OK**to close the dialog boxes.

- Consequently, all the cells containing text from the list Fruit 2 are highlighted in Fruit 1.

**Read More:** How to Highlight Selected Text in Excel

**3. Combination ofÂ SUM & COUNTIF Functions to Highlight Cells**

This time I will use a combination of functions to highlight cells containing text from another list. For example, I will combine **the SUM function **along with the **COUNTIF** function to highlight cells. Here, I have a dataset Books (**B4:B12**) containing some book names. In another list Text (**D5:D8**), I have a list of single words. So, now I will highlight words of Text in dataset Books.

**Steps:**

- First, select the dataset (
**B5:B12**).

- Then go to the
**Home**tab > select**Conditional Formatting**drop-down. - Next, select
**New Rule**from the**Conditional Formatting**drop-down. - As a consequence, the
**New Formatting Rule**window will show up. Choose the**Rule Type: Use a formula to determine which cells to format**. Type the below formula in the field:**Format values where this formula is true**. After that, click on the**Format**button and select the highlight color from the**Fill**tab.

`=SUM(COUNTIF(B5,"*"&$D$5:$D$8&"*"))`

- Click
**OK**>**OK**to close the dialog boxes.

- Finally, cells containing text from the list Text are highlighted in the Books.

Here, the** COUNTIF **function returns the number of cells within the range that meets the given condition. The **SUM** function adds the number in a range.

**Read More:** How to Highlight Cells in Excel Based on Value

**4. Use COUNT & SEARCH Functions to Highlight Cells That Contain Text from a List**

Likewise in **Method 3**, I will use a combination of functions to highlight cells. For instance, I will use the combination of the **COUNT **and **SEARCH** functions to highlight cells having the text from another list. I will again use two fruit name lists as my dataset.

**Steps:**

- In the beginning, select the dataset (
**B5:B14**).

- Go to
**Home**>**Conditional Formatting**>**New Rule**. - The
**New Formatting Rule**dialog will pop up. Then, choose the**Rule Type: Use a formula to determine which cells to format**. Type the below formula in the field:**Format values where this formula is true**.

`=COUNT(SEARCH(D$5:D$9,B5))`

- After that, click on the
**Format**button and choose the highlight color from the**FillÂ**tab. Click**OK**>**OK**to close the dialog boxes.

- Consequently, cells containing fruit names from the list
**Fruit 2**are highlighted in**Fruit 1**.

Here, the **SEARCH **function counts the number of characters at which a specific character or text string is first found, reading left to right. On the other hand, the **COUNT** function counts the number of cells in a range that contains numbers.

**Read More: **How to Highlight Cells Based on Text in Excel

**5. Apply Simple Formula and Drop Down List to Highlight Cells from a List**

This time, I will use a simple formula and drop-down list to highlight cells. For this purpose, I will create a drop-down list. Then in the **Conditional Formatting** rule, I will put the formula. This time, I will again use two fruit name lists as my dataset.

**Steps:**

- First, create the drop list from some fruit names in cell
**D5**.

- Select the dataset (
**B5:B14**).

- Go to
**Home**>**Conditional Formatting**. - Next, go to the
**Conditional Formatting**drop-down >**New Rule**. - Consequently, the
**New Formatting Rule**dialog will appear. After that, choose the**Rule Type: Use a formula to determine which cells to format**. Type the below formula in the field:**Format values where this formula is true**. Click on the**Format**button and select the highlight color from the**Fill**tab.

`=$B5=$D$5`

- Click
**OK**>**OK**to close the dialog boxes.

- As a result, cells containing fruits from the drop-down list are highlighted.

- This method works dynamically, which means if you change the fruit name from the drop-down list the highlighted cells change accordingly.

**6. Excel ISNUMBER and FIND Functions to Highlight Cells from a List**

Now, I will use a combination of functions and a drop-down list to highlight cells. For instance, I will use the combination of the **ISNUMBER **and **FIND** functions to highlight cells having the text from another list. This time, I will again use two fruit name lists as my dataset.

**Steps:**

- First, create the drop-down list from some fruit names in
**Cell D5**.

- Select the dataset (
**B5:B14**).

- Go to
**Home**Â >**Conditional Formatting**>**New Rule**. - The
**New Formatting Rule**window will show up. Choose the**Rule Type: Use a formula to determine which cells to format**. Type the below formula in the field:**Format values where this formula is true**. After that, click on the**Format**button and choose the highlight color from the**Fill**tab.

`=ISNUMBER(FIND($D$5,B5))`

- Click
**OK**after you choose the format color. Again, click**OK**to close the dialog boxes.

- Finally, cells containing text from the list Text are highlighted in the Books.

Here, the **FIND **function returns the starting position of one text string within another text string (Case sensitive). Later, the** ISNUMBER** function checks whether a value is a number, and returns** TRUE** or **FALSE**.

**7. SUMPRODUCT, ISNUMBER, and SEARCH Functions Combination to Highlight Cells That Contain Text from a List**

In this method, I will use** the SUMPRODUCT function** along with **the ISNUMBER function** and **SEARCH **function. I will highlight book names in Books (**B4:B12**) with words from the Text (**B5:B8**)

**Steps:**

- Select the dataset (
**B5:B12**) at first.

- Go to
**Home**>**Conditional Formatting**drop-down. - Next, select the
**New Rule**from the**Conditional Formatting**drop-down. - As a result, the
**New Formatting Rule**dialog box will appear. Choose the**Rule Type: Use a formula to determine which cells to format**. Type the below formula in the field:**Format values where this formula is true**. Then, click on the**Format**button and choose the highlight color from the**Fill**tab.

`=SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5:$D$8,B5)))>0`

- Click
**OK**>**OK**to close the dialog boxes.

- Finally, cells containing book names with the text from the list Text are highlighted.

ðŸ”Ž** How Does the Formula Work?**

**âž¤ SEARCH($D$5:$D$8,B5)**

This part of the formula returns:

{**#VALUE!;#VALUE!;1;5**}

Here, the** SEARCH** function returns the position of the value. But it returns an error (**#VALUE!**) if the value is not found.

**âž¤ ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5:$D$8,B5))**

The** ISNUMBER** function converts all error results to **FALSE** and other results to **TRUE**.

This part replies:

{**FALSE;FALSE;TRUE;TRUE**}

**âž¤ â€“ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5:$D$8,B5))**

This part returns:

{**0;0;1;1}**

The double minus (**â€”**) sign converts all** FALSE **and** TRUE **values to** 0** and** 1**.

**âž¤ SUMPRODUCT(â€“ISNUMBER(SEARCH($D$5:$D$8,B5)))>0**

This part replies:

{**TRUE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;TRUE**}

Finally, the **SUMPRODUCT **function tests the previous result against zero (**0**) and thus guides the **Conditional Formatting **rule to highlight cells.

**Download Practice Workbook**

You can download the practice workbook that we have used to prepare this article.

## Conclusion

In the above article, I have tried to discuss several methods to highlight cells that contain text from a list elaborately. Hopefully, these methods and explanations will be enough to solve your problems. Please let me know if you have any queries.

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I have tried each one of your suggestions above and they are all hightlighting the cell above instead of the cell the information is in.

Hello TAMMY,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

Although I couldn’t fully grasp your query, I’m assuming you want to highlight the cells in the Fruit 2 list (referring to Method 1 for example) instead of the Fruit 1 list.

If that’s the case, you have to select the Fruit 2 range (D4:D9) first. Then, click Home > Conditional Formatting and follow the rest of the steps.

However, in the Format values where this formula is true field, you have to insert =COUNTIF($B$5:$B$14,D5)

If every other thing is okay, the cells will get highlighted.

Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] if the above suggestions didn’t meet your requirement.

Good luck!

Same problem as TAMMY had. I’ve tried several formulas but it’s highlighting either one above or the one bleow cell.

Hello,

Thanks for your comment.

The formulas are all right. They are working very nicely in our case. You have to insert the formulas carefully in the conditional formatting. Make sure you have put the cell references either absolute or relative correctly. Or if you can provide more information about your dataset then we could help.

If you have other queries let us know in the comment.

Regards,

Sajid Ahmed

Exceldemy