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How to use the Excel ISFORMULA function

We can use the excel ISFORMULA function to check if a cell contains a formula or not. Even if the formula is valid or in an error state, the ISFORMULA function still returns TRUE if a formula is found and FALSE if otherwise. The steps below will walk through the process.

Figure 1: How to use the Excel ISFORMULA function



  • Reference is the cell we want to check if it contains a formula



Setting up the Data

  • We have text values that are been counted. We will use the ISFORMULA FUNCTION to check if all the cells in Column C have the formula to count the TEXT in Column B
  • We will set up the data by inputting the TEXT in Column B
  • We will input the WORD COUNT into Column C
  • Column D is where we want the ISFORMULA FUNCTION to return the result

Figure 2: Setting up the Data


  • We will click on Cell D4
  • We will insert the formula below into the cell
  • We will press the enter key

Figure 3: Output for Cell D4 with the ISFORMULA Function

  • We will click on Cell D4 again
  • We will double-click on the fill handle (the small plus sign at the bottom right of Cell D4) and drag down to copy the formula into the other cells

Figure 4: Result for Column D with the ISFORMULA function


  • The FORMULATEXT Function can be used to display the formula in COLUMN C

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Another blog reader asked this question today on Excelchat:
Here are some problems that our users have asked and received explanations on

Hi there Im trying to apply conditional formatting to cells that do not contain a formula. I am using excel 2010 so Ive used a macro to create the =ISFORMULA function but the conditional formatting is not working if the formula returns FALSE
Solved by O. F. in 29 mins
Excel 2010, Conditional formatting ISFORMULA(A2) highlight I would like all my cells that have formulas in their cell to be highlighted. I read the above formula online and applied it to my worksheet, and no highlights on the worksheet at all?? So, I used the exact example online then applied the conditional format above rule and again no highlights. What would prohibit the highlights? Is there another way to get the results I am looking for?
Solved by I. Y. in 12 mins

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