CELL function

The CELL function returns information about the formatting, location, or contents of a cell. For example, if you want to verify that a cell contains a numeric value instead of text before you perform a calculation on it, you can use the following formula:

=IF(CELL("type",A1)="v",A1*2,0)

This formula calculates A1*2 only if cell A1 contains a numeric value, and returns 0 if A1 contains text or is blank.

Syntax

CELL(info_type, [reference])

The CELL function syntax has the following arguments:

Argument

Description

info_type   

Required

A text value that specifies what type of cell information you want to return. The following list shows the possible values of the Info_type argument and the corresponding results.

reference    

Optional

The cell that you want information about. If omitted, the information specified in the info_type argument is returned for the last cell that was changed. If the reference argument is a range of cells, the CELL function returns the information for only the upper left cell of the range.

info_type values

The following list describes the text values that can be used for the info_type argument. These values must be entered in the CELL function with quotes (" ").

info_type

Returns

"address"

Reference of the first cell in reference, as text.

"col"

Column number of the cell in reference.

"color"

The value 1 if the cell is formatted in color for negative values; otherwise returns 0 (zero).

Note: This value is not supported in Excel for the web, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

"contents"

Value of the upper-left cell in reference; not a formula.

"filename"

Filename (including full path) of the file that contains reference, as text. Returns empty text ("") if the worksheet that contains reference has not yet been saved.

Note: This value is not supported in Excel for the web, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

"format"

Text value corresponding to the number format of the cell. The text values for the various formats are shown in the following table. Returns "-" at the end of the text value if the cell is formatted in color for negative values. Returns "()" at the end of the text value if the cell is formatted with parentheses for positive or all values.

Note: This value is not supported in Excel for the web, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

"parentheses"

The value 1 if the cell is formatted with parentheses for positive or all values; otherwise returns 0.

Note: This value is not supported in Excel for the web, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

"prefix"

Text value corresponding to the "label prefix" of the cell. Returns single quotation mark (') if the cell contains left-aligned text, double quotation mark (") if the cell contains right-aligned text, caret (^) if the cell contains centered text, backslash (\) if the cell contains fill-aligned text, and empty text ("") if the cell contains anything else.

Note: This value is not supported in Excel for the web, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

"protect"

The value 0 if the cell is not locked; otherwise returns 1 if the cell is locked.

Note: This value is not supported in Excel for the web, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

"row"

Row number of the cell in reference.

"type"

Text value corresponding to the type of data in the cell. Returns "b" for blank if the cell is empty, "l" for label if the cell contains a text constant, and "v" for value if the cell contains anything else.

"width"

Returns an array with 2 items.

The 1st item in the array is the column width of the cell, rounded off to an integer. Each unit of column width is equal to the width of one character in the default font size.

The 2nd item in the array is a Boolean value, the value is TRUE if the column width is the default or FALSE if the width has been explicitly set by the user. 

Note: This value is not supported in Excel for the web, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

CELL format codes

The following list describes the text values that the CELL function returns when the Info_type argument is "format" and the reference argument is a cell that is formatted with a built-in number format.

If the Excel format is

The CELL function returns

General

"G"

0

"F0"

#,##0

",0"

0.00

"F2"

#,##0.00

",2"

$#,##0_);($#,##0)

"C0"

$#,##0_);[Red]($#,##0)

"C0-"

$#,##0.00_);($#,##0.00)

"C2"

$#,##0.00_);[Red]($#,##0.00)

"C2-"

0%

"P0"

0.00%

"P2"

0.00E+00

"S2"

# ?/? or # ??/??

"G"

m/d/yy or m/d/yy h:mm or mm/dd/yy

"D4"

d-mmm-yy or dd-mmm-yy

"D1"

d-mmm or dd-mmm

"D2"

mmm-yy

"D3"

mm/dd

"D5"

h:mm AM/PM

"D7"

h:mm:ss AM/PM

"D6"

h:mm

"D9"

h:mm:ss

"D8"

Note: If the info_type argument in the CELL function is "format" and you later apply a different format to the referenced cell, you must recalculate the worksheet (press F9) to update the results of the CELL function.

Examples

CELL function examples

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

See Also

Change the format of a cell
Create or change a cell reference
ADDRESS function
Add, change, find or clear conditional formatting in a cell

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