Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Checking for Proper Entry of Array Formulas.

Checking for Proper Entry of Array Formulas

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 21, 2019)

2

Jeffrey's company has a number of reports that use an extensive number of CSE (Ctrl+Shift+Enter) array formulas. When someone forgets to hold Ctrl and Shift when pressing Enter, the resulting formulas do not equal the correct answer. Auditing each cell, looking for the { } brackets is both tedious and time consuming. Jeffrey wonders if there is a quick way to find the "missing brackets" or raise an error flag if Ctrl+Shift+Enter is not pressed when it should be?

There is no intrinsic or formulaic method of doing this in Excel. This means that you need to turn to a solution that is based on a macro. Fortunately, VBA offers several different ways you can approach this problem. One approach is to simply use a formula to make sure that each formula within a selection is actually an array formula.

Sub MakeCSE1()
    Dim rCell As Range

    For Each rCell In Selection
        rCell.FormulaArray = rCell.Formula
    Next rCell
End Sub

This macro assumes that you'll select the cells to be "converted" before actually running the macro. If you prefer, you could define a range of cells (give the range a name) and then run a similar macro that always does its work on that range.

Sub MakeCSE2()
    Dim rng As Range
    Dim rCell As Range
    Dim rArea As Range

    Set rng = Range("CSERange")
    For Each rArea In rng.Areas
        For Each rCell In rArea.Cells
            If rCell.HasArray = False Then
                rCell.FormulaArray = rCell.Formula
            End If
        Next rCell
    Next rArea
End Sub

This macro looks for a range named CSERange and then checks every cell in the range. If it doesn't contain an array formula, then the formula is converted to an array formula.

Note the use of the HasArray property to check if a cell contains an array formula. This property can actually be helpful in other ways. For instance, you could create a simple user-defined function, such as this:

Function NoCellArray1(rng As Range) As Boolean
    NoCellArray1 = Not rng.HasArray
End Function

This function returns True if the cell being pointed to doesn't contain an array formula. If it does contain one, then False is returned. You could then use this function as the basis for a conditional format. All you need to do is create a format that uses it in this way:

=NoCellArray1(A5)

Since NoCellArray returns True if the cell doesn't contain an array formula, your conditional format could set the color of the cell to red or set some other visible sign that the cell doesn't have the requisite array formula. You could also use the following function to accomplish the same task:

Function NoCellArray2(rng As Range) As Boolean
    NoCellArray2 = (Evaluate(rng.FormulaArray) <> rng.Value)
End Function

An entirely different approach is to add something to your formulas that allows them to easily be recognized as array formulas. For instance, you could add the following to the end of any of your array formulas:

+N("{")

This doesn't affect the computation in any way but can be easily checked to see if it is there. The checking can be done by an event handler, such as the following:

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
    If Right(Selection.FormulaArray, 5) = "(""{"")" Then
        ActiveCell.Select
        Selection.FormulaArray = ActiveCell.Formula
    End If
End Sub

Note that the handler checks to see if the formula ends with ("{") and, if it does, forces the formula to be treated as an array formula. The great thing about this approach is that you'll never have to press Ctrl+Shift+Enter on the worksheet again—the event handler takes care of it for you. If, at some point, you want to convert the formula back to a regular (non-array) version, simply modify the formula so it doesn't include +N("{").

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (478) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Checking for Proper Entry of Array Formulas.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

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What is six less than 9?

2020-01-02 18:40:32

Dave Bonin

How nice... I see that the website has squished out all of the spaces it thought were redundant in my macro.

Well, if you know VBA, you can add the leading spaces back in to make it look nice.

If not, the code won't look pretty, but it should still work.


2020-01-02 17:43:30

Dave Bonin

Personally, you just described the very reasons I hate array formulas:
1) They are easy to break.
2) Finding a broken array formula can be difficult.

Instead, I really prefer using the SUMPRODUCT() function. Others like using SUMIFS().

That said, I may receive workbooks from others with broken array formulas with a request to fix them. This is the macro I built to help me.


Sub ShowArrayFormulas()

' Show the array formulas entered on the active sheet
' These are cells with formulas entered using Ctrl-Shift-Enter

' Select the cells containing array formulas
' In addition, offer an option to pattern the cells with purple dots
' The purpose is to aid debugging

' Macro created 2011-01-14 by Dave Bonin


Dim Count As Long
Dim ThisCell As Range
Dim Where As String
Dim ErrorText As String
Dim MsgStatus As Long

' Handle errors gracefully
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler1

ErrorText = vbNullString
MsgStatus = vbInformation
Count = 0
Where = ""
For Each ThisCell In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
If ThisCell.HasArray = True Then
Count = Count + 1
Where = Where & ThisCell.Address & ","
End If
Next

If Count > 0 Then
Where = Left(Where, Len(Where) - 1)
Where = Replace(Where, "$", "")
Where = Replace(Where, "$", "") 'Repeated because this function has limits
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler2
ActiveSheet.Range(Where).Select
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler1
End If

If Count > 1 Then
If ErrorText = vbNullString Then
If MsgBox("There are " & Format(Count, "#,##0") & " cells containing" & vbCr & _
"array formulas on this sheet." & vbCr & vbCr & _
"Hit 'Ok' to pattern the cells." & ErrorText, _
vbOKCancel + MsgStatus, "Show Array Formulas") = vbOK Then
Selection.Interior.Pattern = xlGray16
Selection.Interior.PatternColorIndex = 47
End If
Else
MsgBox "There are " & Format(Count, "#,##0") & " cells containing" & vbCr & _
"array formulas on this sheet." & ErrorText, _
vbOK + MsgStatus, "Show Array Formulas"
End If

ElseIf Count = 1 Then
If ErrorText = vbNullString Then
If MsgBox("Just one cell on this sheet" & vbCr & _
"contains an array formula." & vbCr & vbCr & _
"It may be lonely. Go see." & vbCr & vbCr & _
"Hit 'Ok' to pattern the cells." & ErrorText, _
vbOKCancel + MsgStatus, "Show Array Formulas") = vbOK Then
Selection.Interior.Pattern = xlGray16
Selection.Interior.PatternColorIndex = 47
End If
Else
MsgBox "Just one cell on this sheet" & vbCr & _
"contains an array formula." & vbCr & vbCr & _
"It may be lonely. Go see." & ErrorText, _
vbOKOnly + MsgStatus, "Show Array Formulas"
End If
Else
MsgBox "No cells on this sheet" & vbCr & _
"contain an array formula." & ErrorText, _
vbOKOnly + MsgStatus, "Show Array Formulas"
End If

Exit Sub

ErrorHandler1:
ErrorText = vbCr & vbCr & "An error occurred:" & vbCr & Err.Description & "."
MsgStatus = vbExclamation
Resume Next

ErrorHandler2:
ErrorText = vbCr & vbCr & "Could not select or pattern the array cells."
MsgStatus = vbExclamation
Resume Next

End Sub


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