Excel ISFORMULA function


The Excel ISFORMULA function checks if a specific cell contains a formula. This function is useful for auditing spreadsheets, identifying cells with formulas, and implementing conditional formatting or logic based on whether a cell’s value is calculated or manually entered.
  • reference: The cell reference you want to check for a formula
Return value
  • TRUE if the specified cell contains a formula
  • FALSE if the cell does not contain a formula

How to use

ISFORMULA is straightforward to use: simply provide the cell reference you wish to check. It can be particularly useful in conjunction with other functions like IF to perform different actions depending on whether or not a cell contains a formula.


Identifying Cells with Formulas: To determine if a cell, such as A1, contains a formula.

If A1 has a formula, this returns TRUE, indicating the presence of a formula. If A1 is empty or contains a constant value (like text or a number), it returns FALSE.
ISFORMULA with Conditional Logic
Creating Conditional Messages Based on Formula Presence: Using ISFORMULA within an IF statement to provide feedback about a cell’s content.
					=IF(ISFORMULA(A1), "Contains formula", "No formula")

This formula checks if A1 contains a formula and returns “Contains formula” if true; otherwise, it says “No formula”, helping users understand the nature of the cell’s content at a glance.
Verifying Formula Existence in a Dynamic Cell Reference: To dynamically check if a referenced cell contains a formula using INDIRECT.

Assuming A1 contains a row number, this formula uses INDIRECT to construct a reference to a cell in column B and then checks if that cell contains a formula.

Additional Notes

  • ISFORMULA is an essential function for spreadsheet auditing and management, ensuring that formulas are preserved during data updates or modifications.
  • This function was introduced in Excel 2013. In earlier versions of Excel, alternative methods, such as cell formatting or manual inspection, were necessary to identify formulas.

Related Functions

Excel ISBLANK function

The Excel ISBLANK function checks if a cell is empty, returning TRUE or FALSE, ideal for conditional logic in formulas.

Excel ISNUMBER function

The Excel ISNUMBER function verifies if a cell contains a number, returning TRUE or FALSE, key for data type validation.

Excel ISERROR function

The Excel ISERROR function checks for any error value, returning TRUE if any is detected, essential for comprehensive error checking.

Excel ISERR function

The Excel ISERR function tests for any error except #N/A, returning TRUE if found, aiding in error management excluding #N/A.

Excel ISTEXT function

The Excel ISTEXT function determines if a cell contains text, returning TRUE or FALSE, essential for text data verification.

Excel ISREF function

The Excel ISREF function checks if a value is a reference to a cell, returning TRUE or FALSE, useful for reference validation.

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