Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Identifying Formula Cells
Identifying Formula Cells
A common spreadsheet problem occurs when a formula is accidentally replaced with a value.
This type of error is often difficult to spot, especially if your worksheet contains a large number of
formulas. This tip describes two ways to quickly identify the formulas in a worksheet by
highlighting them. Then, if you zoom out (make the cells appear very small), you might be able to
spot gaps in groups of formulas.
Using Go To Special
This method of identifying formula cells is easy, but it’s not dynamic. In other words, it’s good for
a one-time check:
1. Select any single cell in your worksheet.
2. Choose Home
Editing
Find & Select
Go to Special to display the Go to Special
dialog box.
3. In the Go to Special dialog box, click the Formulas option and make sure that all check
boxes below it are selected.
4. Click OK.
Excel selects all formula cells.
5. Click the Fill Color control in the File
Font group
Select any color that’s not already being used.
6. Use the Zoom control and zoom your worksheet to a small percentage (25 percent is a
good choice).
7. Check the sheet carefully and look for any unshaded cells in a group of shaded cells.
It might be a formula that was overwritten by a value.
If you didn’t make any edits, you can click Undo (or press Ctrl+Z) to remove the fill colors you
applied in Step 6.
Using conditional formatting
This method of identifying formula cells takes a bit of setup work, but it has a distinct advantage
over the previous method: It’s dynamic. Formula cells are identified immediately when they’re
entered.
 
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