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I often need to do such things as enter a column of twitter handles. But if I start a cell by typing "@", excel assumes its a formula, and worse, refuses to accept a bad formula.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

usually you can use ' at the beginning of a cell to show the value as a string.

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Wow, this is an awesome trick. The column/cell does not even need to be formatted as text first for this to work. –  xdumaine May 24 '12 at 17:22
    
Yeah, it's a handy one, especially if you want to start with an = –  MaddHacker May 24 '12 at 17:24
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@DragonFax -- you should accept this as the answer. The tick mark at the beginning of a cell is the universally accepted way to do this. –  Head of Catering Jun 2 '12 at 20:37
    
would have been accepted faster but stackexchange seems to have stopped emailing me. will investigate. –  DragonFax Jun 22 '12 at 20:54
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Through experimentation, I found that I can set the whole column with a format of "Text" and that convinces Excel to accept the poorly formated "formulas". So this is a workable solution.

But I don't accept this as an elegant or proper solution, as it still assumes the input is a formula, and it acts as so (trying to sum other cells clicked, and such) until I force it to finish editing the cell. In other words, I don't trust the results of this solution.

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