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Test for formula in cell in Excel


panman's Avatar
panman panman is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
25-Jun-2003, 10:31 PM #1
Cool Test for formula in cell in Excel
Is there a way to create an Excel formula that will test another cell for a formula or a value? I need a way to flag cells that have their formula replaced by a number, using the "conditional formatting" function. Trouble is, I can't figure out a way to test for this condition. Help!
mrwendal's Avatar
mrwendal mrwendal is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: England
26-Jun-2003, 03:57 AM #2

The only way that I can think of is to do the test in a couple of stages.

1) use a macro or a bit of vb coding to temporarily add an apostrophe ( ' ) to the cells in question. This enables formulae to be displayed in the cells as text.

2) you can then use conditional formatting and apply a conditional format of something like

Formula is =left($G3,1)="="

(this is presuming cell G3 contains the formula or number to test)

3) Then run another macro to remove the apostrophes from the original cells


There is more than likely an easier way - but this is the only way I could think of.
Also, I'm sure that if the cells to test will be the same or in the same column, etc, then the whole process can be done within one simple macro.
deej's Avatar
deej deej is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: UK
26-Jun-2003, 07:23 PM #3
Hi panman

Try this user-defined function - you need to enter it into the module section for the current workbook, using the Visual Basic Editor. If you're not sure how to do this please respond and I'll post (or e-mail if you prefer) some brief instructions.

Function ISFORMULA(LCELL As Range) As Boolean

Dim MYCELL As Range

'** test for multiple cells in range - return false if multiple
If MYCELL.Cells.Count > 1 Then
MsgBox "Can only use ISFORMULA function on single cell range."
Exit Function
End If

'** test leftmost character of cell.formula property
'** return true if '=' else return false
If Left(MYCELL.Formula, 1) = "=" Then
'** this bit minimises risk of being fooled
'** by text string starting with '='
If Trim(MYCELL.Value) = Trim(MYCELL.Formula) = False Then
End If
End If

End Function

The function simply checks the 'Formula' property of a cell, if the cell contains a formula then the formula property returns the full text of the formula if not it returns the actual value in the cell (or an empty string if the cell is blank).

The first character of the returned Formula property is tested to see if it is '='. If it is then the chances are that the cell holds a formula, I have attempted to minimise the risk of being fooled by a cell containing a text string begininning with '=' (see comments in VBA code).

The function will return True if the cell holds a formula and False if it does not. Once you have created the function in your workbook module you can use it in a formula to test your cells - eg:

=IF(ISFORMULA(A1) = TRUE,"Formula Present","No Formula")

The Formula property invariably returns an error if applied to a range of more than one cell, so I have trapped this possibility to display an error message and return False if the range includes more than one cell.

Hope it works for you!

Deej, UK
Bruce319's Avatar
Bruce319 Bruce319 is offline
Member with 379 posts.
Join Date: May 2003
27-Jun-2003, 12:03 PM #4
If your just checking to see if a cell has a formula for your own preferene and not just a value, then go to the Tools menu and choose options and click on Formulas in the view tab sheet.
This will show any cell with a formula on it. Once you determined or fixed any errors, just unclick the formula button.
Bruce319's Avatar
Bruce319 Bruce319 is offline
Member with 379 posts.
Join Date: May 2003
27-Jun-2003, 12:05 PM #5
I meant to say, that the excel will display the formula used for that cell in your spread sheet.
deej's Avatar
deej deej is offline
Member with 152 posts.
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: UK
27-Jun-2003, 01:05 PM #6
Yes - the shortcut key combination is:

Ctrl + '
deej's Avatar
deej deej is offline
Member with 152 posts.
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: UK
28-Jun-2003, 05:14 AM #7
Apologies - shortcut key is:

Ctrl + ` (top left of QWERTY key bank - left of '1')

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