Counting Cells Containing a Formula

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 26, 2019)


Rob wondered if there is a way to count the number of cells containing formulas in a row or column. The answer is quite simple, using the Go To feature of Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the worksheet for which you want a count.
  2. Select the row or column in which you want to count formulas.
  3. Press F5 or Ctrl+G. Excel displays the Go To dialog box.
  4. Click the Special button. Excel displays the Go To Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Go To Special dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Formulas radio button is selected.
  7. Click OK.

That's it. Excel selects all the cells in the row or column that contain formulas. (If you skip step 2, Excel selects all the formulas in the entire worksheet.) At the bottom of the screen, in the status bar, you can see a count of the number of cells selected. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The status bar shows a count of selected cells.

If, for some reason, you don't see a count in the status bar, you should check to make sure you have your status bar configured to show counts. Just right-click any blank spot on the status bar and choose Count form the resulting options.

You could also use a formula to figure out how many formulas are in a range of cells, as shown here:


This example returns the count of all the formulas in column A; you could just as easily substitute a different range of cells in the formula. Whatever range you specify, it should not include the cell where you place this particular formula—that would result in a circular reference and a probable error.

You could also, if desired, use a macro to determine the count. The following example uses the same approach to determine a count as was manually described in the earlier steps:

Sub CountFormulas1()
    Dim Source As Range
    Dim iCount As Integer

    Set Source = ActiveSheet.Range("A:A")
    iCount = Source.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeFormulas, 23).Count
    ActiveSheet.Range("D1") = iCount
End Sub

This subroutine returns, very quickly, a count of all the formula-containing cells in column A and stuffs that value into cell D1.

It would be very helpful if this approach could be turned into a user-defined function, such as this:

Function CountFormulas2(Source As Range)
    CountFormulas2 = Source.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeFormulas, 23).Count
End Function

This won't work, however. The function always returns the count of the cells in the Source range, not the count of the cells containing formulas. It is an esoteric bug in Excel's VBA that SpecialCells doesn't work in functions; it only works in subroutines. Microsoft hasn't even documented this one (that I can find), thus my reference to it as a "bug" instead of as a "limitation."

There is an actual limitation to what the SpecialCells method can do, however: It can only contain a range of up to 8,192 cells. You can analyze a range that is much larger (as is the case when you have it look at an entire column), but the resulting subset—the resulting range—can only contain up to 8,192 cells. If it contains more, then SpecialCells will "fail" and return a range (and therefore a count) that is equal to the number of cells in the original range.

If you want to create a user-defined function to determine the count, you'll need to rely on something other than the SpecialCells method. Here's an approach that uses the HasFormula property:

Function CountFormulas3(Source As Range)
    Dim c As Range
    Dim iCount As Integer

    iCount = 0
    For Each c In Source
        If c.HasFormula Then iCount = iCount + 1
    CountFormulas3 = iCount
End Function

If you choose to have this macro evaluate an entire column or an entire row, then be prepared to wait a bit—it can take a while for the macro to step through each cell in a column or row. The SpecialCells method is much faster at deriving results than stepping through each cell.


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 (13330) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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 four more than 7?

2019-05-04 06:08:59

Jeyner Lopez

Hello. I would like to use VBA to get a report about some random numbers.
I have a set of numbers from 1 to 48 in a colum in a random sequence, I would like to be able to display in a chart how many times each number of the set FOLLOWED any of the numbers in the set.
Thank you.

2017-07-11 04:02:44


hi , wondering if anyone could help or point me in the right direction,
i am trying to use a count function over a range of cells , these cells have a formula already in them but do not actualy update at the same time , because the cells have a formula in them they show a value of 0.00 even though no real data is there, and with this 0.00 figure the count function in the range becomes active, is there anyway around this so the count function only kicks in when the figure is above0.01 or smothing simalar ??

2016-04-14 21:00:55


Is there an easy way to use a variation of this to count the number of rows in a range of columns that are missing formulas? Not only looking for blanks (where formulas have been deleted) but also rows where some numbers have been manually entered, thus overwriting existing formulas.

I want this for a spreadsheet that's backward compatible to Excel 2007. I did notice in Excel 2013, that if I choose Formulas (otherwise known as "Go to Formulas" when the cursor is hovering over this selection in the "Find & Select" menu), it highlights all cells containing formulas and I can easily see the cells that are missing formulas in the range of columns that I'm interested in. I just don't know how to get Excel to give me a count of those rows that are not highlighted that are missing formulas. I'm hoping that although this thread is from 2014, the experts that view this comment will have an easy solution. Thanks!

2014-12-10 05:51:16


I prefer using SpecialCells whenever available, I find them quite elegant and efficient.

In fact, to avoid as the tip says macros taking forever to run you could use as upper bound for your UDF xlLastCell(.Row and .Column), so that you don't try to evaluate a whole column for nothing.

2014-12-09 05:04:52

Michael (Micky) Avidan

If your question refers to: ISFORMULA (the build-in function) the answer is MO.
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

2014-12-08 13:01:14


Is there any method for this to work using Excel 2007?

2014-12-08 12:18:49

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Dennis & Rob,
There is no need to change the default settings.
Dennis tried to SUM a bunch of True/False but the SUM and/or the SUMPRODUCT is not capable to SUM Booleans - therefor you must change and
the True/False into 1/0, respectively, (This was done in the original tip by using the: --
(Double minus signs).
I like to use the N function.
Will work as expected.
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

2014-12-08 11:13:45


Very useful tip!

However, the UDF solution didn't work for me, when i use =CountFormulas3(A:A)
It returns a '#NAME?' error. Please advise!

2014-12-08 04:21:19


Dennis, Micky,
There does seem to be something odd with this scenatio in Excel 2013, Dennis's version doesn't work for me irrespective of the transition setting however the Array Formula

Rgds R

2014-12-07 14:05:28

Dennis Taylor

My previous post about using an array formula needs to be amended.
The array formula =SUM(ISFORMULA(A:A)) will work only in Excel 2013 and only if you have turned on the setting: Transition formula evaluation.
Go to the File tab in the ribbon and then select Options and then Advanced; the second last box in these options (under Lotus compatibility settings:)is Transition formula evaluation.
Anybody out there have a good reason as to why this is necessary? Is there some strange relationship between Excel and the old Lotus 1-2-3 standards that I'm missing?

2014-12-07 06:53:25

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Dennis Taylor,
If it was only for the "slight" difference between a regular formula(SUMPRODUCT) versus an Array formula which is much "heavier" - I would have kept my mouth shut.
BUT - your suggested Array formula (as presented) "doesn't provide the merchandise".
You are welcome to check.
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

2014-12-06 17:21:49

Dennis Taylor

This array formula also works:

Be sure to press Ctr+Shift+Enter to complete the entry

2014-12-06 11:42:06

Willy Vanhaelen

ISFORMULA is new to Excel 2013.

2014-12-06 11:16:52


I am using Excel 2007, and it does not recognize ISFORMULA as a function. Is this part of an add-in that I am missing?

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