New ISFORMULA Function in Excel 2013

Last week, we took a look at the new FORMULATEXT function in Excel 2013. Another one of the new features in Excel 2013 is the ISFORMULA function. Finally, there is a way to identify cells that contain a formula, without creating a User Defined Function to do the job.


The TYPE function was originally designed to show what a cell contained, such as text or a formula. It returns a number to show the type for a cell's contents, or a formula's result. Here's the list of results, and the data types:


In a few versions of Excel, the Help files incorrectly reported that a formula would return 8 with the TYPE function, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Check for a Formula

With the new ISFORMULA function, you can test a cell, to see if it contains a formula. In the screenshot below, the following formula is entered in cell B4, and copied across to cell D4:



The result in cells B4 and C4 is FALSE, because cells B2 and C2 have numbers typed in them. The result in D4 is TRUE, because cell D2 contains a formula.

Highlight Cells With Formulas

You can use the ISFORMULA function with conditional formatting, to highlight cells that contain formulas. In the screen shot below, cells in column C have a formula, and they are shaded grey.


For the details on how to apply this type of conditional formatting, and for more information on the ISFORMULA function, please visit my Contextures website: Excel ISFORMULA FUNCTION


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2 Responses

  1. Katrina Finney says:

    So what are the different types of cell contents in a whole class discussion

  1. March 4, 2013

    […] A new version of Microsoft Excel, the 800 pound gorilla of the spreadsheet world, was actually released back in January as part of Office 2013 but I managed to miss it somehow.  An overview of what’s new in Excel 2013 is available in a blog post from Microsoft, along with a list of new functions in Excel 2013 and a note warning of the possibility of calculation differences between ‘normal’ PCs and those running Windows RT.  More in-depth articles include My first Excel 2013 chart, Excel 2013 in depth, Introduction to PowerPivot in Excel 2013 and the new ISFORUMULA Function in 2013. […]

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