Excel Showing Formula Instead of Result (How to FIX!)

Sometimes, it may happen that your Excel workbook shows formulas instead of the result.

Something as shown below:

But there is no need to panic… All’s well!

This is something that’s quite common and happens to a lot of users. There could be multiple reasons behind Excel showing formula instead of the result, and in this tutorial, I will show you the potential fixes that will make this issue go away.

So let’s get started!

Show Formulas May Be Enabled (Top Reason for Formulas Showing as Text)

In some cases, people actually want to see all formulas as text in the worksheet.

There could be multiple reasons for this, the most common one is when you’re auditing the worksheet and need to know where and what formulas are being used.

This problem has an easy fix – you just need to disable ‘Show Formulas’ option (which might be enabled and is causing this issue)

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Click the Formulas tabClick the Formulas tab in the Excel ribbon
  2. In the Formula Auditing group, click on Show Formulas.Click on Show Formulas

The keyboard shortcut to enable/disable showing formulas as text options is Control + `

In most cases, this should fix the problem and your formulas should show the result and not show up as text itself.

And what if this doesn’t solve the problem and you’re still seeing formulas as text?

Keep reading and try the other fixes!

Cells are Formatted as Text

Another issue that you may face is that when you insert a formula, it shows the formulas and not the value.

One possible culprit could be the cell being formatted as Text.

And it has a really easy fix too:

  1. Click the Home tab
  2. In the Number group, click on the Formatting drop-down and select General (you might see Text being the option that is already selected).

Select General as the format

Note that when you apply text formatting to a cell, it will only show formulas as a text for the formulas you enter after applying the formatting. Any formulas results before the formatting is applied will not change.

Apostrophe Before the Formula

Another issue (not as common) you may face is having an apostrophe before the formula.

When you add an apostrophe at the beginning in any cell, Excel considers the cell content as a text string. So if you do it with numbers, you will notice that they align to the left and are treated as text now.

This also sometimes happens when you get a data dump from a database, where an apostrophe is added automatically at the beginning.

To fix this, you can go to the cell and manually remove the apostrophe.

So these are some of the reasons that may make your formulas show up as text and you can easily fix them and show the results instead.

Hope you found this tutorial useful!

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