Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 All Cell Formatting in VBA.

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 21, 2017)


Excel has two different types of formatting that can be applied to cell. The first is explicit formatting. This type of formatting is applied by using the toolbars or by using the Cells option from the Format menu. The second type of formatting is conditional formatting. This type of formatting is applied based on a set of rules that you define.

It is important to understand that these two types of formatting are separate and distinct from each other. For instance, if you explicitly format a cell as bold red, that is the way it appears. If you later apply a conditional format to it, and that format causes the cell to appear in green, that is exactly what is happening—the cell is appearing in green, but it is still formatted as red.

What does this have to do with VBA? If you test the formatting of a cell in VBA, then the formatting you are testing is the explicit formatting. In the above scenario, this means that the test will always indicate that the cell is bold red, and never report that it is green, regardless of what the conditional formatting is doing to the cell. This is because conditional formatting affects the cell's display, not its underlying (explicit) formatting.

The other upshot of all this is that if you want to find out what conditional formatting is being displayed, you may need to recreate all your conditional tests within VBA. This can get rather complex rather quickly. For more information on this topic, there is a great page you can refer to. Check out one of Chip Pearson's pages, here:

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8490) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA.

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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What is five more than 3?

2014-06-14 12:24:34


However, when you copy the formatting from a cell or range that has both explicit formatting and conditional formatting applied to it, both types of formatting are copied to the destination cell(s). (This is true when the copying is done in Excel, but probably not if it's done within the VBA code.)

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