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Excel ISREF Function

Excel ISREF function

The Excel ISREF returns TRUE when a cell contains a reference and FALSE if not. You can use the ISREF function to check for a reference in a formula.

Test for a reference
Return value 
A logical value (TRUE or FALSE)
=ISREF (value)
  • value - The value to check.
Usage notes 

The ISREF function returns TRUE to test for a reference in a formula. The ISREF function takes one argument, value, to test. If value is a valid cell reference, range, or named range, ISREF returns TRUE. If value is not a reference, ISREF returns FALSE. ISREF does not evaluate the contents of a reference, just the reference itself.


ISREF returns TRUE when value is a reference and FALSE if not:

=ISREF(A1) // returns TRUE
=ISREF(A1:C1) // returns TRUE
=ISREF(Sheet1!A1) // returns TRUE
=ISREF("apple") // returns FALSE
=ISREF(100) // returns FALSE
=ISREF(ZZZ1) // returns FALSE

Some functions, like INDEX and OFFSET, can return a reference. As long as the reference is valid, ISREF returns TRUE:

=ISREF(INDEX(A:A,10)) // returns TRUE
=ISREF(OFFSET(A1,1,1)) // returns TRUE

To evaluate a reference as text (i.e. "A1"), use the INDIRECT function:

=ISREF(INDIRECT("A1")) // returns TRUE


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