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How to Fix Excel Formulas Showing as Text in Excel

August 15, 2023

Excel is an amazing spreadsheet software that makes calculations easier with mathematical functions. But sometimes, it only shows the formula instead of the result, resulting in a waste of time.

This error can be troublesome for data analysts who want quick results. If you have ever run into this issue, you are at the right place. Keep reading to find several solutions that will help you fix excel showing formula instead of result errors – keep reading!

How to Fix Excel Show Formula Instead of Result?

There are several ways you can force Excel to show the proper result of the formula instead of only giving back the formula as the result in a cell. Here are seven solutions to this problem that you can try; let's dive in!

Solution 1: Turn Off the Feature of "Show Formulas"

The Excel formula shows instead of result when certain options in Excel are not used the right way. For example, there is a special option called "Show Formulas" in Excel, which allows users to only see the formulas.

Using this feature can be useful when the users are only interested in finding out the formulas. But it can be troublesome if you are looking for results. This is how you can disable the formula and only focus on the results instead:

1. Open the spreadsheet you are working on in Microsoft Excel.

2. Locate the ribbon and click on the "Formulas" button.

3. Find the "Show Formulas" button and click on it.

4. Now, you will see the formulas present in your spreadsheet.

5. If you want, you can disable the "Show Formulas" option to ensure that you only see the results produced by the formulas you have entered.

This is a simple solution that will allow you to proceed with calculations instead of seeing the formulas only. Make sure that this option is disabled so you don't have to waste time on a spreadsheet.

Solution 2: Insert Equals before the Formula

When working with Excel, you need to be careful about the syntax of the formulas. Making a mistake with the syntax can waste your time. The formula shows up in Excel instead of the result if your formula is not accurate. Here is a quick fix that can help you see the results instead of the formula alone:

1. Click on any cell within your spreadsheet that contains the formula.

2. Right-click on the cell and choose the "Format Cells" option from the pop-up box.

3. Click on the "General" button and click "OK" to proceed to the next step.

4. Now, in the formula bar, remove the "=" from the left side of the formula and press the "ENTER" key.

5. Add the "=" sign to the left side of the formula once again to get the result instead of the formulas in the spreadsheet.

The Excel spreadsheet might not be able to interpret the formula if the computer is working slower or there is a lot of data on the sheet. Re-inserting the "=" sign forces Excel software to reuse the formula and show the right result to the user.

Solution 3: Check If the Formula is Correct?

The issue of Excel showing formula instead of result might appear if you don't use the right syntax for the formulas in excel. Keep in mind that Excel software is not "intelligent" and cannot find for itself what task you are doing.

If you want to see the results only in Excel, you will have to ensure that you are using the right formula. Here are some steps to help you verify that the formula you entered is accurate:

1. Ensure that all formulas entered in your excel spreadsheet start with an "=" sign.

2. Double-check that no space is entered before the "=" sign in the formula bar.

3. If you have copied the formula from somewhere, make sure it isn't written between inverted commas. For example, this is a wrong formula, as it contains inverted commas at the start and end of the formula:

4. Remove or add parentheses in your formula according to the type of calculation you want to perform.

5. Add Nesting limit to your formulas to ensure that the excel software can compute formulas the right way.

Solution 4: Change the Cell Formatting of the Text

Sometimes excel can show formula instead of result if there are some formatting changes in the spreadsheet. The formatting feature allows you to differentiate between data in your sheet, but it can also mess up the calculations of the formulas.

This is why you need to be careful about formatting cells in the spreadsheet. Here is how to change the cell formatting of the text in Excel:

1. Click on any cell you are dealing with in your spreadsheet.

You might be seeing the formula instead of the result if the system shows "Text" in the tab.

2. Click on the "Text" option and choose the "General" option.

3. Move back to the formula bar and click the "ENTER" button to recalculate the formula.

4. Now, you will see the result instead of the formula in your spreadsheet.

Using this feature can save you from hours of checking the spreadsheet again and again and ensuring that it doesn't contain any problem.



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Solution 5: Remove the "Space" at the Beginning of the Formula

Sometimes the vlookup function might start showing formula instead of result. Other functions can also be the cause behind excel not working the right way. You need to be careful about how you enter the formula to ensure that you don't get into problems.

1. Here is how to ensure that your formula doesn't have an equal sign:

2. Choose any of the cells from the spreadsheet that contains a formula.

3. Check the formula by heading over to the "Formula bar."

4. Make sure that there is no space added before or after the "=" sign.

In this example, you can see that there are two spaces before and after the given formula. These spaces will needed to be removed to ensure that the formula gives the right answer.

Solution 6: Check Automatic Recalculation

The excel software can count for any changes made to the spreadsheet. Constant tracking allows the software to ensure that results are updated whenever a formula change is made.

This automatic feature can take a lot of time and stop you from the manual calculation. With this method, you can learn how to show value instead of formula in excel 2010 or a newer version:

1. Locate the cell you are dealing with in your spreadsheet.

2. Now, move your cursor to the home bar, and click on the "Formulas" tab.

3. Take your cursor to the far right of your spreadsheet and click on the "Calculation Options" button.

4. Now, click on the "Automatic" feature from the menu and disable the automatic recalculation feature.

Solution 7: Copy and Paste Your Work into a New Worksheet

The easiest fix for the "Excel showing formula instead of result" problem is launching a new spreadsheet. If you have a lot of entries and formulas in a given spreadsheet, it will take a lot of time to fix issues one by one.

This is why you should close the spreadsheet you are working on and launch a new one to save time and effort. Here is how to do it:

1. Move to the extreme left corner of the columns.

2. Clicking on the corner will help you select all the contents of the spreadsheets.

3. Use the "Ctrl + C" shortcut so you can copy the contents of your spreadsheet.

4. Now, use the "Ctrl + V" shortcut to open a blank spreadsheet.

5. Move the cursor to the box in the extreme left once again to select all blank rows and columns.

6. Use the "Ctrl + V" feature to paste the values.

Now, you can easily make the necessary changes to ensure that the formulas don't show up and only results are displayed.

Try WPS Office

The Excel formula result showing zero might be difficult to solve for many users because Excel is relatively difficult to use. If you are looking for a free alternative to Excel that is easy to use and contains all the features, you should use WPS Office.

The good thing about WPS Office is that it has the "formula prompts" feature. You can use this amazing feature to simplify the process of applying formulas and get useful insights from data easily.

Another great thing about WPS Office is that it is standalone software. You can use it to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in no time. It can also help you create, edit, and share PDFs in no time.

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Here are the answers to your common queries about Excel and formulas:

Q. Why does excel formula result show zero?

A. In some cases, Excel might return nothing but a zero even after applying a formula. This situation might arise if you don't have any content in your cells.

Q. Why does excel show value instead of cell reference?

A. Sometimes, Excel only shows the given value instead of providing the cell reference to the users. This situation happens when you enter a formula into a cell that you have linked to another cell. Editing the formula in the linked cell will show the formula instead of the result.

Q. Why Show cell reference in Excel formula?

A. Some users prefer to see the cell reference in the Excel formula when working on a spreadsheet. This feature is useful when a user is dealing with a large data set and has to find where a cell is located to handle data easily.


All the solutions mentioned above can allow you to see the values produced by the formulas instead of seeing the formulas only. However, if you find the above solutions difficult and want to use simple software, you should consider using WPS Office.

The best thing about WPS Office is that it is intuitive and makes it easier for both new and skilled analysts to handle data on spreadsheets easily. This software is used by around 500 million people worldwide because of the amazing free features it provides.

You can check the WPS Office websites and start handling your documentation needs the right way!

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.