Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a spread sheet sent to me by a friend and I want to add a column with some formulas in. Instead of containing the results of the formulas the new cells contain the text of the formula. Why? How do I fix this?

Here's a simple example in which I would expect the cell B1 to contain the text Tim but instead it contains the text =A1:

enter image description here

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I only use Excel 2003, but I suspect it's the same: you have the cell set to be a text cell rather than a formula cell. In my case I can right click on the cell and select how it will display.

share|improve this answer
Bingo! If I change the cell formatting to general and re-enter the formula it works. Thanks Xavier. – dumbledad Nov 16 '12 at 8:17
Your welcome. If you need the whole column to be changed you can click on the column header and do the same thing rather than one at a time. – Xavierjazz Nov 17 '12 at 4:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.