CELL function: Description, Usage, Syntax, Examples and Explanation

What is CELL function in Excel?

CELL function is one of the Information functions in Microsoft Excel that returns info 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 of CELL function

CELL(info_type, [reference])

The CELL function syntax has the following arguments:

  • Info_type: 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.
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 Online, 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 Online, 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 Online, 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 Online, 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 Online, 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 Online, 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” 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.

Note: This value is not supported in Excel Online, Excel Mobile, and Excel Starter.

  • 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.
Also See:   Highlight unprotected cells in Excel

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”
“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”
Also See:   How to retrieve workbook name only in Excel

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 to update the results of the CELL function.

Example of CELL function

Steps to follow:

1. Open a new Excel worksheet.

2. Copy data in the following table below and paste it in cell A1

Also See:   How to get address of first cell in range in Excel

Note: For formulas to show results, select them, press F2 key on your keyboard and then press Enter.

You can adjust the column widths to see all the data, if need be.

Data
75
Hello, world!
Formula Description Result
=CELL(“row”, A20) The row number of cell A20. 20
=CELL(“contents”, A3) The contents of cell A3. Hello, world!
=CELL(“type”, A2) The data type of cell A2. A data type of “v” indicates value. v

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