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: Detecting Errors in Conditional Formatting Formulas.

Detecting Errors in Conditional Formatting Formulas

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 7, 2013)

Allan uses a lot of conditional formatting, nearly always using formulas to specify the conditions for the formatting. Recently he discovered, by chance, that he had a #REF! error in one of his conditional format formulas. As far as Allan could figure, this was the result of deleting the row of a cell referred to in the formula. The impact is that the conditional formatting won't work for that condition. This has made Allan concerned that there are other instances of conditional formats that have become corrupted since originally being set up. He wonders if there is any simple way of checking all conditional formatting so that these errors can easily be found.

The best way is to use a macro to step through all the conditional formats defined for a worksheet. The following macro does just that, looking for any #REF! errors in the formulas.

Sub FindCorruptConditionalFormat()
    Selection.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeAllFormatConditions).Select
    For Each c In Selection.Cells
        For Each fc In c.FormatConditions
            If InStr(1, fc.Formula1, "#REF!", _
              vbBinaryCompare) > 0 Then
                MsgBox Prompt:=c.Address & ": " _
                  & fc.Formula1, Buttons:=vbOKOnly
            End If
        Next fc
    Next c
End Sub

If an error is found, then a message box displays both the address of the cell and the formula used in the conditional formatting rule.

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 (11361) 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: Detecting Errors in Conditional Formatting 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Too-Big Toolbars

Work around Words inability to have a multi-row toolbar.

Discover More

Selecting the First Cell In a Row

When creating macros, you'll often have a need to select different cells in the worksheet. Here's how to select the first ...

Discover More

Changing Existing Captions

Word allows you to automatically create captions for various elements of your document, such as figures and tables. These ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Controlling Data Entry in a Cell

Sometimes you want whatever is displayed in one cell to control what is displayed in a different cell. This tip looks at ...

Discover More

Changing Typeface with Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting can be a great way to modify how the information in your worksheet is displayed. The feature has ...

Discover More

Conditional Formats that Distinguish Blanks and Zeroes

Conditional formatting is a great tool. You may need to use this tool to tell the difference between cells that are empty ...

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}] 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 five minus 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.