Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Conditional Format that Checks for Data Type.

Conditional Format that Checks for Data Type

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 28, 2022)

3

Joshua is trying to establish a conditional format that will alert a user that text data has been entered into a cell intended for numerical data or when numerical data has been input into a cell intended for text data.

A conditional format can be used to draw attention to when an improper value (text or numeric) has been entered in a cell, but a more robust approach might be to prohibit the improper value from being entered in the first place. This can be done with the data validation capabilities of Excel. These capabilities have been discussed, in detail, in other ExcelTips; more information can be found here:

http://excelribbon.tips.net/C0786_Data_Validation.html

Using data validation you can specify the type and range of data permitted in a cell, along with how stringently you want that specification followed. If you prefer to not use data validation for some reason, you can set up a conditional format that will verify if the information placed in a cell is of the data type you want. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells that you want conditionally formatted.
  2. With the Home tab of the ribbon displayed, click the Conditional Formatting option in the Styles group. Excel displays a palette of options related to conditional formatting.
  3. Choose Highlight Cells Rules and then choose More Rules from the resulting submenu. Excel displays the New Formatting Rule dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The New Formatting Rule dialog box.

  5. In the Select a Rule Type area at the top of the dialog box, choose Use a Formula to Determine Which Cells to Format.
  6. In the Format Values Where This Formula Is True box, enter one of the following formulas. (The first is if you want to highlight the cell if it contains text; the second if it contains a number. Make sure you replace A1 with the cell address of the cell in the upper-left corner of the range selected in step 1.)
  7.      =ISTEXT(A1)
         =ISNUMBER(A1)
    
  8. Click Format to display the Format Cells dialog box.
  9. Using the controls in the dialog box, specify a format that you want used for those cells selected in step 1. For instance, you may want bold text in a red typeface.
  10. Click OK to dismiss the Format Cells dialog box. The formatting you specified in step 7 should now appear in the preview area for the rule.
  11. Click OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7073) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Conditional Format that Checks for Data Type.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Removing All Comments

Need to get rid of all the comments in your document? You can do so by using the regular Find and Replace feature of Word.

Discover More

Pop-up Windows in Word

Want to add a small pop-up window over a word in your document? There is no way to do this directly in Word, but you can ...

Discover More

Word Tracks Changes to Changes

When you have Track Changes turned on for a document, Word remembers which editor made which changes. If this behavior ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Converting Conditional Formatting to Regular Formatting

Conditional formatting allows you to change how information is displayed based on rules you define. What if you want to ...

Discover More

Turning a Cell Red when a Threshold is Exceeded

Excel provides a great conditional formatting capability that allows you to change how a cell appears based on critiera ...

Discover More

Copying Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting is a great feature in Excel. Here's how you can copy conditional formats from one cell to another ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 4?

2022-02-28 13:42:04

Arthur Menu

I use conditional formatting to set up a rule that turns a selected cell green if a certain formula is true and red if the formula is false for a range of data. My workbook has 52 worksheets where I have set up this rule. It usually works but on occasion when I start inputting data into one of the 52 worksheets in which I have not entered data up to that point, Excel does not apply the rule. To activate the rule I select the cell in which I have set up the rule, open the conditional formatting tab and manage the rule. I have to edit the rule. I don't need to change anything, just OK what I have already set up. I don't know why Excel on occasion deactivates a rule that I have set up. This doesn't happen all the time. Most often the rule is active on any worksheet. But not always and I don't know why. Is there any quick and simple way to get Excel to check and make sure that all instances of the conditional formatting are active?


2017-03-15 10:48:28

Jack

A handy add on to this is if you want to apply conditional formatting to a whole row based on the result of a test on a single cell in that row, you can put a $ in front of the Column letter e.g. =ISNUMBER($A1). Then if the cell in column A is a number the whole row get formatted


2017-01-14 05:34:37

Barry

There are some quirks in MS Excel that may defeat this simple test (=ISTEXT(A1), so the input looks like a number but is actually text.

A numeric can be entered as text and the ISTEXT formula will accept it as text (likwise the ISNUMBER function in reverse). This in itself is OK but if the value in the cell is used in a formula (and not all functions will do this) e.g. =A1*2 then Excel will interpret the text as its numerical equivalent, and not give the #VALUE error.

Numbers can be entered as text either by formatting the cell as "Text" or preceding the entry with an apostrophe " ' ".

The inconsistent treatment can be annoying but it seems simple arithmetic operators (e.g. + - * /) will convert the text to numbers but other more complex functions do not. I have tested this exhaustively because there are so many functions in Excel. But it is worth bearing this mind when devising your spreadsheet and input validation


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.