Excel Showing Formula Instead of Result

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Have you ever noticed Excel acting unexpectedly strange?

Though it does not happen very often, anyhow you have to face multiple issues while working with Excel. You might have witnessed that your Excel worksheet is not doing what it is supposed to do. For instance, it is not common that Excel showing formulas instead of results. Isn’t it?

Well, you don’t need to be worried about it. Everything is under control and you can handle it easily. Once in a while, every user has to face this issue while working. Multiple reasons exist behind this weird issue Excel showing formula instead of result. Here, you will get to know how you can fix this issue smoothly.

Entering a formula ultimately shows some results. However, when you don’t get any results there could be two major reasons for this:

  1. Show Formulas is enabled unintentionally
  2. Your formula seems to be text

Let’s have some quick fixes for this issue:

Fix # 1 – Disable Show Formulas 

To understand why is Excel showing formula instead of result, it could be because of an output of enabling the Show Formulas feature. Chances are you didn’t enable it intentionally and you are facing it accidentally. If it is so, you will not get a display of results rather only formula showing in Excel.

It happens because of several reasons and the most common among them is while auditing the worksheet you may have to know the location and type of formulas used in the worksheet. Disabling the Show Formulas feature would let you get rid of this issue instantly (only if it is the main culprit).

Here are some easy steps for this:

  1. Click the Formulas tab.
  1. Select Show Formulas are given in the group Formula Auditing.

Disabling this feature right from your keyboard is also easy. You can simply enable or disable by pressing Control + `.

Exercising this fix will help you avoid repeating this issue if it is the reason. You will see the results instead of formula text.

If you are still not getting out of this issue let’s try some other hacks.

Fix # 2: Cell Format Set to Text 

Another major reason behind this issue could be the cell format that sets to text. Here are the easy steps to follow:

  1. Click the Home button.
  2. Click on the Formatting drop-down menu given in the Number Group and choose General.  

Remember that when you set the cell format to a text, you will not be able to see anything other than text. That’s why Excel showing formulas instead of result issue occurs.

Fix # 3: Use of Space Before Equal Sign 

Accidentally, sometimes a space is added before the equal sign. By rule, each formula must be started using an equal sign along with a space before it. Well, it definitely goes against the rule, that’s why you have to skip over the space right before the equal sign.

That way you will be able to get results by adding formulas into the worksheet.  

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Fix # 4: Enclosing the Formula in Quotes

More often people like to present a formula or anything important in quotes. In the case of Excel, you don’t need to put quotes along with the formula as it can truly disturb the functioning. You can add quotes in the formula only when it is compulsory. Here is an example:

Fix # 5: Missing of Equal Sign 

In Excel, you must have an idea of how important an equal sign is. Using an equal sign before the formulas is really a must-have. If not, then Excel will not consider it as a formula and just a simple text. Here is the example: 

Fix # 6: Setting of Calculation Options 

What do you think changing calculation options from “Manual” to “Automatic” would work or not? 

Well, if you are familiar with Excel, you must know that Excel has an ‘Automatic’ feature that lets you compute either manually or automatically. If you are facing Excel showing formula instead of result issue, it might be possible that the calculations feature is set to manual. 

If you know it well, you will realize this issue is not detected easily as it results in computing formulas in one cell. However, if you copy it to another cell, it will maintain the previous calculation and you will not get the recalculation based on the newer setting. 

To get rid of this issue, here is the fix:

1. Go to Excel and click on the “File” option given in the left corner. 

2. In the new window, click on the “Options” tab given on the left menu bar. 

3. Choose “Formulas” from the “Excel Options” dialog box given on the left side menu. Change the ‘Calculation Options’ from ‘Manual’ to ‘Automatic’. 

4. Click ‘OK’ and it will redirect to the sheet. 

Fix # 7: Type Formula in the Right Format 

Why don’t you tell Excel properly that your text is a formula? 

Writing the formula in a specific way is compulsory, so Excel knows it is not a simple text instead it is a formula. Otherwise, you may have to face another query why is my formula showing as text? That’s why you have to follow the steps given below: 

Equal Sign: As already mentioned, you must put an equal sign before the formula. If you don’t put the sign, it will not consider the text as a formula. 

Space before equal sign: Ensure there is no space before equal sign while putting a formula. Your single space could be like a needle in the haystack. Try to be cautious while typing anything.   

Wrapped Formula in Quotes: Also, make sure the formula is not enclosed with quotes because in Excel it would be something unwanted. Usually, writing quotes and important stuff in the quotes is common that’s why people consider formulas important and put quotes around them. Excel considers those formulas as simple text and leaves them as they are. 

Matching of Each Parenthesis in Formula: Remember that each argument of Excel function is added with parentheses. It might be possible that you have to enter multiple parentheses. When you add numerous parentheses, you have to be extra careful, because if parentheses are not closed accurately, Excel will not be able to judge the formula you have entered.

Nesting Limit: Nesting two or more functions in Excel needs you to remember these rules: 

If you are using IF loop, remember that: 

  • Excel 2003 and earlier versions allow only 7 nested functions. 
  • Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 versions allow up to 64 nested functions. 

Fix # 8: Entering Numbers without any Formatting 

Using a number in the formula needs you to ensure that there is no decimal separator or currency sign. For instance, $, /, >, %, etc. When you enter a formula in Excel, the use of the comma is needed to separate arguments and the dollar sign shows an absolute cell reference. 

Well, each sign has a different function, that’s why you must be careful while using them.

Why is Excel showing formula and not result? Now, you must acknowledge that Excel never tolerates any disruption while executing the functions. When your Excel shows formula instead of result, you will have to maximize the efforts in searching the route cause.

Summing Up

Having an idea about these reasons lets you know how you can come up with solutions to the most typical issues. You can now fix the problem of Excel showing formulas instead of results. Keep trying these solutions!

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