A co-worker somehow got this strange thing going on their sheet.

There is a sort of "zoomed in" cell that is overlapping others in the middle of their sheet. It overlaps others cells, and the text inside is actually large/pixelated like it was zoomed in and not just adjusted to a larger font size.

At first I thought they accidentally merged some cells, because it is overlapping multiple columns, however when you click on it, Excel selects the "real" cells behind it that are NOT merged and otherwise have retained all their correct data. The "zoomed" cell itself seems to be borrowing the formatting, at least the color, of the one of cells it has overlapped, and it cannot be selected at all.

Typing anything into any cell updates this cell automatically in real time, as if it was a carbon copy of formula bar itself. You don't have to wait to hit "Enter" for it to update.

Further, it can ONLY be seen on 100% sheet zoom. When I scrolled up or down on the zoom, it vanishes.

Is this some sort of accessibility feature for the visually impaired? I've read on related functions in the past for various programs, but nothing specific comes to mind for Excel exactly. For example it reminds me of the magnifying glass via Windows, but it seems to be built into/part of Excel because it is only reacting to changes to cells in the sheet.

Update since I started typing: They "solved" this problem by closing and re-opening their workbook and the strange cell is gone. I'm still interested in discovering what this is though, in case it happens again.

(I originally posted this question on Stack Overflow but was directed here being told this place was better suited to this question.)

Edit: Adding an image which depicts what it looked like. As mentioned it was very strange. It knew "date" formatting from Col AL, but had the color from Col AK. Also the text was zoomed/slightly pixelated, not just set to a larger size. When typing into ANY other cell in the sheet it would update AS we were typing. When we tried to click on this seemingly merged cell, the selector would just go behind it and select the cells it was hiding (which still had all of their correct data in them.)

image depicting what looks like a merged cell

  • Is it some type of image or is it an actual cell? You can link a cell's content to a figure and when updating the cell, the image also updates, not real tome though, as you described. Do you have any picture of it?
    – Thales
    Jan 23, 2018 at 1:10
  • It appeared like it was a merged cell. I did not get a live screen capture of it, however I have recreated what it looked like, adding to OP. Jan 24, 2018 at 20:09


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