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: Conditionally Highlighting Cells Containing Formulas.

Conditionally Highlighting Cells Containing Formulas

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 23, 2021)

1

You probably already know that you can select all the cells containing formulas in a worksheet by pressing F5 and choosing Special | Formulas. If you need to keep a constant eye on where formulas are located, then repeatedly doing the selecting can get tedious. A better solution is to use the conditional formatting capabilities of Excel to highlight cells with formulas.

Before you can use conditional formatting, however, you need to create a user-defined function that will return True or False, depending on whether there is a formula in a cell. The following macro will do the task very nicely:

Function HasFormula(rCell As Range) As Boolean
    Application.Volatile
    HasFormula = rCell.HasFormula
End Function

To use this with conditional formatting, select the cells you want checked, and then follow these steps:

  1. 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.
  2. Choose New Rule. Excel displays the New Formatting Rule dialog box.
  3. In the Select a Rule Type area at the top of the dialog box, choose Use a Formula to Determine Which Cells to Format. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The New Formatting Rule dialog box.

  5. In the Format Values Where This Formula Is True box, enter "=HasFormula(A1)" (without the quote marks). If the active cell in the range that you selected is not A1, you'll need to modify the formula slightly to reflect whatever cell is active.
  6. Click Format to display the Format Cells dialog box.
  7. Use the controls in the Format Cells dialog box to specify how you want the cells formatted.
  8. Click OK to close the Format Cells dialog box.
  9. Click OK.

Microsoft introduced the ISFORMULA function with Excel 2013. The ISFORMULA function allows you to highlight cells that contain formulas without using a macro. To use this function with conditional formatting, select the cells you want checked, and then follow these steps:

  1. 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.
  2. Choose New Rule. Excel displays the New Formatting Rule dialog box.
  3. In the Select a Rule Type area at the top of the dialog box, choose Use a Formula to Determine Which Cells to Format.
  4. In the Format Values Where This Formula Is True box, enter "=ISFORMULA(A1)" (without the quote marks). If the active cell in the range that you selected is not A1, you'll need to modify the formula slightly to reflect whatever cell is active.
  5. Click Format to display the Format Cells dialog box.
  6. Use the controls in the Format Cells dialog box to specify how you want the cells formatted. For instance, you can select a fill color for the cells with formulas.
  7. Click OK to close the Format Cells dialog box.
  8. Click OK.

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 (9900) 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: Conditionally Highlighting Cells Containing 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 four less than 7?

2021-01-25 14:23:54

J. Woolley

You might be interested in the freely available FormulaCellsCF macro in My Excel Toolbox. Here is a simplfied version:

Public Sub FormulaCellsCF()
Const F = "=ISFORMULA(A1)+N(""FormulaCellsCF"")"
For Each FC In ActiveSheet.Cells.FormatConditions
    If FC.Type = xlExpression And FC.Formula1 = F Then
        FC.Delete
        Done = True
    End If
Next FC
If Done Then Exit Sub
With ActiveSheet.Cells.FormatConditions.Add(xlExpression, , F)
    .Interior.Color = &HE6E6E6
End With
End Sub

The complete version is at https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/


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