Highlighting Cells Containing both Letters and Numbers

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 19, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


1

Emmanuel would like to know how he can use conditional formatting to highlight a cell if that cell contains a mix of both numbers and letters. If the it contains all letters or all numbers, the cell should not be highlighted.

In this tip I won't focus on how to create a conditional format; there have been plenty of other ExcelTips that focused on that task. What I will focus on is a few formulas you could use in defining the condirtional formatting rule. The formula needs to examine the value in the cell and return "True" if it contains both letters and numbers, and "False" in all other instances.

Here are three different formulas you can try in the rule:

=SUM(IFERROR(FIND(ROW($1:$10)-1,A1),))*ISTEXT(A1)
=AND(ISTEXT(A1),MATCH(FALSE,ISERROR(1*MID(A1,ROW(INDIRECT("1:15")),1)),0))
=AND(SUM(--(ISNUMBER(--MID(A1,ROW(INDIRECT("A1:A"&LEN(A1))),1)))),ISTEXT(A1))

Any of these formulas work just fine (I would personally choose use the shortest one—less typing!), but there is one potential drawback. If you have numeric digits stored in a cell and the cell as formatted as Text, then the formulas will still return "True" and the conditional format is applied. This occurs because each of the formulas use the ISTEXT function, which looks at the format of the cell to see if it contains text.

The easiest way to get around this potential "false positive" is to create a user-defined function (a macro) that can then be referenced in your conditional formatting rule. Here's a very simple UDF that returns "True" only if the cell contents (not its format) contain both letters and numbers:

Function CheckChars(r As Range) As Boolean
    CheckChars = False
    If r Like "*#*" And UCase(r) Like "*[A-Z]*" Then CheckChars = True
End Function

In order to use this in your conditional formatting rule, simply use this formula:

=CheckChars(A1)

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 (13422) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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 three less than 9?

2022-11-19 15:43:18

J. Woolley

The Tip's three formulas and one function (UDF) do not distinguish between ordinary text vs letters and numbers (numerals); for example, text like #1x$2y&3z returns TRUE.
This new version of CheckChars returns TRUE only when the text has both letters and numerals and nothing else:

Function CheckChars(r As Range) As Boolean
s = UCase(r)
CheckChars = s Like "*#*" And s Like "*[A-Z]*" _
And Not s Like "*[!0-9A-Z]*"
End Function

My Excel Toolbox includes the following general function:

Function IsLike(Text As String, Pattern As String) As Boolean
IsLike = Text Like Pattern
End Function

Therefore, this formula matches the new version of CheckChars for cell A1:
=LET(s,UPPER(A1),AND(IsLike(s,"*#*"),IsLike(s,"*[A-Z]*"),NOT(IsLike(s,"*[!0-9A-Z]*"))))
See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox
Curiously, a conditional formatting formula rule cannot reference a UDF that is in an add-in; such a reference must be in the same workbook. But there is a work-around using defined names. See the Conditional Formatting section at https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/caution


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