Quick Excel Trick of the week – results not showing in a cell

By Patricia Egen • April 2nd, 2013

Ever typed in a formula in a cell and get no results? Me too.   You have checked to ensure Automatic Calculation is turned on.  You have hit F9 to force a recalculation    And it still doesn’t show up.

This will often happen on spreadsheets that have had data imported or the spreadsheet was created as an extract.  You can try changing the format of the cells in that column but to no avail.  Fear not – there are some techniques to fix this.

The one that typically works for me every time is to highlight the cell/column/row that is grumpy and then do the following:

1. Click on Edit/Replace

2. Find =

3.  Replace All with =  (yes you are indeed replacing the same thing with the same thing).

This basically forces a re-calculation of the formula and Excel will finally realize it is indeed a formula and not text.

Another trick is to to toggle the Ctrl ~ keystrokes.  This goes between “show formulas” and “not show formulas”.  It may help identify an inadvertent space in front of the = sign.  It is annoying that you have to resort to these little tricks to fix strange occurrences.  But at least there are fixes.


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