Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Conditionally Highlighting Cells Containing Formulas.

Conditionally Highlighting Cells Containing Formulas

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 30, 2016)

1

You probably already know that you can select all the cells containing formulas in a worksheet by pressing F5 and choosing Special | Formulas. If you need to keep a constant eye on where formulas are located, then repeatedly doing the selecting can get tedious. A better solution is to use the conditional formatting capabilities of Excel to highlight cells with formulas.

Before you can use conditional formatting, however, you need to create a user-defined function that will return True or False, depending on whether there is a formula in a cell. The following macro will do the task very nicely:

Function HasFormula(rCell As Range) As Boolean
    Application.Volatile
    HasFormula = rCell.HasFormula
End Function

To use this with conditional formatting, select the cells you want checked, and then follow these steps:

  1. Choose Conditional Formatting from the Format menu. Excel displays the Conditional Formatting dialog box.
  2. Make sure the first drop-down list is "Formula Is." (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Conditional Formatting dialog box.

  4. In the formula area, enter "=HasFormula(A1)" (without the quote marks). If the active cell in the range that you selected is not A1, you'll need to modify the formula slightly to reflect whatever cell is active.
  5. Click the Format button. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Format Cells dialog box.

  7. Use the controls in the Format Cells dialog box to specify how you want the cells formatted.
  8. Click OK to close the Format Cells dialog box.
  9. Click OK to close the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3188) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Conditionally Highlighting Cells Containing Formulas.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Disappearing AutoText Entries

Some detective work on disappearing AutoText entries in Word.

Discover More

Correctly Saving Delimited Files

Delimited files are often created through Excel so that your data can be exported to other programs. If the delimited data ...

Discover More

Relative References to Cells in Other Workbooks

When you construct a formula and click on a cell in a different workbook, an absolute reference to that cell is placed in the ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Shrinking Cell Contents

Need to cram a bunch of text all on a single line in a cell? You can do it with one of the lesser-known settings in Excel.

Discover More

Setting Cell Width and Height Using the Keyboard

Hate to take your hands off the keyboard? Here are a couple of ways you can reject the mouse and still adjust the height and ...

Discover More

Better Use of Heading Space

If your column headings are too large to work well in your worksheet, why not turn them a bit? Here's how.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 - 0?

2017-02-07 01:47:04

Raymond

This is great. Do you have conditionally highlighting cells with NO formula? Appreciate if you do.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing