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Pull Information From a Cell

This article introduces a small Excel function that you have probably never considered or used before. It’s called the CELL function!

The CELL Function

The CELL function returns information about the formatting, location, or contents of a cell.

For example, if you want to check to see that a cell contains a numeric value before you perform a calculation, then you can use the cell function.

You might also want to use the CELL function just for fun! Either way, it’s a fascinating function to learn about it.

What Can the CELL Function Do?

The CELL function can give you all sorts of information about a cell. For a complete list of all the information the CELL function can return, we recommend visiting the Microsoft web page that details the function.

To give you a brief summary from our end, here is how the CELL function works.

The CELL function requires at least one argument, but it can accept up to two. The first argument represents the type of information you would like to know, and it must be one of the values listed below.

  • “address”
  • “col”
  • “color”
  • “contents”
  • “filename”
  • “format”
  • “parentheses”
  • “prefix”
  • “protect”
  • “row”
  • “type”
  • “width”

The second argument (if you choose to use it) must be a reference to another cell. The referenced cell is where the information is pulled from.

If no second argument is specified, the information will come directly from the cell containing the CELL function.

A Few Examples

Here are three examples to give you a better idea of how the cell function works.

Example 1

The CELL function is used below to return the address of the cell.

Example 2

The CELL function tests to see if cell A2 is locked. The CELL function returns a value of 1, indicating that cell A2 is indeed locked.

Example 3

The CELL function is used below to return the column width of cell B4.

As you can see, the CELL function can return all types of different information about a cell. So the next time you need to pull information from a cell, use the CELL function.

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