The ISREF function in Google Sheets is **useful when you need to check if a certain value is a valid cell reference.**

Cell references include references to a single cell, such as **A2**, or a range of cells such as **A1:C10. **The ISREF function in Google Sheets does not look at the contents of the cell but rather at the cell reference itself.

##### Table of Contents

The rules for using the `ISREF`

function in Google Sheets are as follows:

- The function requires a single argument (the value to verify as a valid cell reference)
- The function then outputs a Boolean value. The result is TRUE if the cell reference is valid and FALSE otherwise.
- The
`ISREF`

function does not validate the contents of a reference, just the reference itself.

Let’s take a look at a quick use-case of when we can apply the `ISREF`

function in Google Sheets.

We have a spreadsheet with a list of cell references. Unfortunately, such information was transcribed from a physical workbook. This means it is possible to have invalid cell references in the list. Is it possible to know whether a cell reference is valid?

It’s easy to find this out using the `ISREF`

function. With some help from the `INDIRECT`

function, we can take any string representing a cell reference and check if the string is a valid cell reference.

Go read the next section to learn how to write the `ISREF`

function ourselves in Google Sheets and later test out the function with sample data.

**The Anatomy of the ISREF Function**

So the syntax of the `ISREF`

function is as follows:

=ISREF(value)

Let’s dissect this formula and understand what each of these terms means:

**=**the equal sign is used to start any Google Sheets function.**ISREF()**is our`ISREF`

function. It checks whether a value is a valid cell reference.**value**refers to the value to be verified as a cell reference.- A string of a valid text reference will still be considered text and not a valid cell reference.
- To evaluate a reference as text, we can use the
`INDIRECT`

function.

**A Real Example of Using ISREF Function**

Let’s explore a real example of the `ISREF`

function being applied to a Google Sheets spreadsheet.

In the example below, we have a set of `ISREF`

formulas. The values in column A show the result, while column B shows the formula used. Values such as **A1**, **A6**, and **A2:B7** are valid cell references.

We can also check if a list of strings contains valid cell references. We used the `INDIRECT`

function to convert our list of strings into actual cell references in the spreadsheet below. These references are then plugged into the `ISREF`

function to return the final verdict.

To get the results in column B, we just need to use the following formula:

=ISREF(INDIRECT(A2))

You can make a copy of the spreadsheet above using the link I have attached below.

If you’re ready to use the `ISREF`

function in Google Sheets yourself, read on and follow the step-by-step guide in the next section.

**How to Use ISREF Function in Google Sheets**

- In this example, we’ll be using
`ISREF`

and`INDIRECT`

to determine whether certain strings are valid cell references. As seen below, we begin by selecting a cell to place our formula.

- In the next step, we just have to type the equal sign ‘
**=**’, followed by ‘**ISREF(**‘. - A pop-up box may appear with information on the
`ISREF`

function. We can click on the arrow on the top-right-hand corner of the box to minimize it.

- The next step is to type in our argument. For this example, our arguments must first pass through the
`INDIRECT`

function, which converts the string to an actual cell reference. - Next,simply hit
**Enter**on your keyboard to let the function return the final result. In this case,**A1**was identified as being a valid cell reference.

- Finally, we can drag down the formula in cell
**B2**to fill in the rest of the column!

**Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)**

**Does the ISREF function take different sheets into consideration?**

Yes, the`ISREF`

function takes sheets into consideration. If a cell reference includes the sheet name, such as “Sheet!A1” or “Raw!B3”, then that sheet must exist for the cell reference to be marked valid.

**Does the ISREF function consider the INDEX and OFFSET functions as cell references?**

As long as the cells referenced by`INDEX`

and`OFFSET`

exist, the`ISREF`

function will mark them as valid cell references.

In the example below,`=INDEX(C:C,2)`

is another way of saying`=C2`

, which is why the`ISREF`

function returns TRUE.

That’s all you need to know to start using the `ISREF`

function in Google Sheets. This step-by-step guide shows how simple it is to determine whether a given input is a valid cell reference.

You can now combine the `ISREF`

functions in Google Sheets with the various other Google Sheets formulas available to create more powerful spreadsheets for your tasks.

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