In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ISFORMULA function in Excel, which is a useful tool for determining if a cell contains a formula or not. This function is particularly helpful when working with large datasets, as it allows you to quickly identify cells that contain formulas, making it easier to troubleshoot and maintain your spreadsheets. We will cover the syntax of the ISFORMULA function, provide examples of its use, share tips and tricks, discuss common mistakes, and explore related formulae.


The ISFORMULA function has a simple syntax, requiring only one argument. The syntax for the ISFORMULA function is as follows:


Where ‘reference’ is the cell you want to check for a formula. The function will return TRUE if the cell contains a formula and FALSE if it does not.


Let’s explore some examples of how to use the ISFORMULA function in Excel:

Example 1: Basic usage of ISFORMULA

Suppose you have a cell (A1) that contains the formula “=SUM(B1:B10)”. To check if cell A1 contains a formula, you can use the following ISFORMULA function:


This will return TRUE, as cell A1 contains a formula.

Example 2: Using ISFORMULA with a range of cells

If you want to check if any cells in a range (A1:A10) contain a formula, you can use the following array formula:


Enter this formula as an array formula by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter. This will return the number of cells in the range that contain a formula.

ISFORMULA Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the ISFORMULA function:

Tip 1: Combine ISFORMULA with conditional formatting

You can use the ISFORMULA function with conditional formatting to visually highlight cells that contain formulas. To do this, select the range of cells you want to format, go to the Home tab, click on Conditional Formatting, and choose “New Rule”. In the “New Formatting Rule” dialog box, select “Use a formula to determine which cells to format” and enter the ISFORMULA function as the formula. Choose the desired formatting and click OK.

Tip 2: Use ISFORMULA with other functions

You can combine ISFORMULA with other functions to perform more complex tasks. For example, you can use the IF function with ISFORMULA to return a specific value if a cell contains a formula:

=IF(ISFORMULA(A1), “Formula”, “No Formula”)

This formula will return “Formula” if cell A1 contains a formula and “No Formula” if it does not.

Common Mistakes When Using ISFORMULA

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the ISFORMULA function:

Mistake 1: Forgetting to use absolute cell references

When using ISFORMULA in a formula that you plan to copy to other cells, make sure to use absolute cell references (e.g., $A$1) to prevent the cell reference from changing as you copy the formula.

Mistake 2: Using ISFORMULA on a cell containing a constant value

Remember that ISFORMULA will return FALSE for cells containing constant values, even if those values were originally calculated using a formula. To check if a cell contains a formula, use ISFORMULA on the original cell containing the formula, not on a cell containing a constant value derived from that formula.

Why Isn’t My ISFORMULA Working?

If you’re having trouble with the ISFORMULA function, consider the following possible issues:

Issue 1: Incorrect cell reference

Make sure you’re using the correct cell reference in your ISFORMULA function. Double-check the cell address and ensure it’s the cell you want to check for a formula.

Issue 2: Formula entered as text

If ISFORMULA is returning FALSE for a cell that appears to contain a formula, make sure the formula isn’t entered as text. If the formula is preceded by an apostrophe (‘) or is formatted as text, Excel will treat it as text rather than a formula.

ISFORMULA: Related Formulae

Here are some related formulae that you might find useful when working with the ISFORMULA function:

1. ISTEXT: This function checks if a cell contains text and returns TRUE if it does, and FALSE if it does not.


2. ISNUMBER: This function checks if a cell contains a number and returns TRUE if it does, and FALSE if it does not.


3. ISBLANK: This function checks if a cell is empty and returns TRUE if it is, and FALSE if it is not.


4. ISERROR: This function checks if a cell contains an error and returns TRUE if it does, and FALSE if it does not.


5. IF: This function allows you to perform a logical test and return one value if the test is TRUE and another value if the test is FALSE.

=IF(logical_test, value_if_true, value_if_false)

By mastering the ISFORMULA function and its related formulae, you can efficiently manage and troubleshoot your Excel spreadsheets, ensuring that your data is accurate and well-organized.


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